Dynamics, Expertise, and Influence within Political Communication Networks

24 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 17 Aug 2011

Robert Huckfeldt

University of California, Davis - Department of Political Science

Matthew Pietryka

Florida State University - Department of Political Science

Jack Reilly

affiliation not provided to SSRN

T. K. Ahn

Seoul National University - Department of Political Science and International Relations

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

This paper employs a small group experiment to study the process of political influence within social networks. Each experimental session involves seven individuals, where privately obtained information is costly but communication within the group is free. Hence, individuals form prior judgments regarding candidates based on public and private information before updating their priors through a process of social communication. In general, individuals select expert informants with political preferences similar to their own, and we consider the dynamic implications for individual and group preferences. In particular, we address the diffusion of information based on a DeGroot model which provides a dynamic formulation of the influence process. We are particularly interested in the implications that arise due to varying levels of information among participants for (1) the construction of communication networks, (2) the relative influence of better informed individuals; (3) relative levels of reliance on priors and communicated messages; (4) the consequences of memory decay for the influence of experts; and (5) the diffusion of information and patterns of persuasion.

Suggested Citation

Huckfeldt, Robert and Pietryka, Matthew and Reilly, Jack and Ahn, T. K., Dynamics, Expertise, and Influence within Political Communication Networks (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1901634

Robert Huckfeldt (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - Department of Political Science ( email )

One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States

Matthew Pietryka

Florida State University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Talahasse, FL 30306
United States

Jack Reilly

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

No Address Available

T. K. Ahn

Seoul National University - Department of Political Science and International Relations ( email )

Kwanak-gu
Seoul, 151-742
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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