'Personal Influence': Social Context and Political Competition
47 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2007 Last revised: 9 Nov 2012
Date Written: June 2008
This paper studies the effect of social learning on political outcomes in a model of informative campaign advertising. We find that communication networks among voters have important effects on parties' incentives to disclose political information, on voters' learning about candidates running for office, and on the polarization of the electoral outcome. In particular, in richer communication networks parties disclose less political information and voters are more likely to possess erroneous beliefs about the characteristics of the candidates running for office. In turn, a richer communication network among voters may lead to political polarization. These results are reinforced when interpersonal communication occurs more frequently among ideologically homogeneous individuals and parties can target political advertising.
Keywords: Social Learning, Homophily, Polarization, Campaign Advertising
JEL Classification: D72, D83, Z13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation