Deliberative Ripples: The Network Effects of Political Events
22 Pages Posted: 10 Aug 2010
Date Written: August 10, 2010
What are the ripple effects from structured deliberation sessions? To better understand the potential aggregate consequences of these (somewhat limited) opportunities, we focus on the social networks of participants, looking for the informational consequences of second-hand exposure. We report on the results of a field experiment in which randomly selected constituents attended a deliberative session with a U.S. Senator. Pre and post session data were collected from participants – as well as control subjects – regarding interpersonal political discussion networks.
We evaluate whether the encounter spurred increased political discussion among named discussants, and whether certain factors moderated these rates of political talk. Our results indicate that attending the deliberative session increased discussion of specific issues, and that spouses were especially likely targets for discussion. Importantly, follow-up surveys indicate that these ripple effects lasted for months after the initial encounter.
Keywords: Social influence, contagion, deliberation
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