Influential Opinion Leaders
CERGE-EI Working Paper Series No. 458
29 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2012 Last revised: 28 Nov 2013
Date Written: September 24, 2013
We present a two-stage coordination game in which early choices of experts with special interests are observed by followers who move in the second stage. We show that the equilibrium outcome is biased toward the experts’ interests even though followers know the distribution of expert interests and can account for it when evaluating observed experts’ actions. Expert influence is fully decentralized in the sense that each individual expert has a negligible impact. The bias in favor of experts results from a social learning effect that is multiplied through a coordination motive. The total effect can be large even if the direct social learning effect is small. We apply our results to the onset of social movements and to the diffusion of products with network externalities.
Keywords: Voting, coordination, experts
JEL Classification: D72, D82, D83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation