Polarization in Group Interactions

47 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2018

See all articles by Ganesh Iyer

Ganesh Iyer

University of California, Berkeley - Marketing Group

Hema Yoganarasimhan

University of Washington

Date Written: September 26, 2018


We study the phenomenon of strategic polarization in group interactions. Agents with private preferences choose a public action (e.g., voice opinions), and the mean of their actions represents the group’s realized outcome. They face a trade-off between influencing the group outcome and truth-telling. In equilibrium, agents strategically shade their actions towards the extreme leading to polarization. The group outcome is also more extreme than the mean preference. Compared to a simultaneous actions game, randomized (or exogenous) sequential actions lowers polarization when agents’ preferences are relatively similar. Endogenizing the order of moves always increases polarization, though it is also welfare enhancing.

Keywords: group decision, polarization, social choice

JEL Classification: D7, D71, D72, D78, D80

Suggested Citation

Iyer, Ganesh and Yoganarasimhan, Hema, Polarization in Group Interactions (September 26, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3256511 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3256511

Ganesh Iyer (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Marketing Group ( email )

Haas School of Business
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Hema Yoganarasimhan

University of Washington ( email )

481 Paccar Hall
Seattle, WA 98195
United States

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.washington.edu/hemay/

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