Why Are There So Many Extreme Opinions Online?: An Empirical Analysis Comparing Japan, Korea, and the United States

35 Pages Posted: 6 May 2020 Last revised: 17 Aug 2020

Date Written: April 4, 2020

Abstract

This study tests the following hypothesis: "People with extreme opinions often express themselves online." I constructed a social media posting model and, together with questionnaire data, estimated the influence extreme opinions had on the number of posts on social media in Japan, Korea, and the United States. The influence was found to be positive across all observed countries and topics. Further, the influence of the degree of opinion extremity about “increase in foreigners” on the number of posts on social media was found to be the strongest in the United States. The elasticity was 0.788 in the United States, while it was 0.447 in Japan and 0.454 in South Korea. Based on the above, our hypothesis was supported, and at the same time, the more sensitive the topic, the more the number of social media posts increased depending on opinion extremity.

Keywords: social media, polarization, online communication, extremism

Suggested Citation

Yamaguchi, Shinichi, Why Are There So Many Extreme Opinions Online?: An Empirical Analysis Comparing Japan, Korea, and the United States (April 4, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3568457 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3568457

Shinichi Yamaguchi (Contact Author)

International University of Japan

Japan

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