Talking with an Extremist

Economic Theory

37 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2022 Last revised: 19 Apr 2023

See all articles by Emiliano Catonini

Emiliano Catonini

National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow) - International College of Economics and Finance

Tatiana Mayskaya

National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow) - International College of Economics and Finance; National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow) - Faculty of Economics

Date Written: April 17, 2023

Abstract

Two agents announce the state they consider most likely infinitely many times. A small departure from common belief in rationality can have a severe impact on the belief about the state and on the behavior of an extremist: while initial periods of disagreement produce a temporary convergence of beliefs, prolonged disagreement induces reversion towards the initial belief. The mechanism is simple: the longer the counterpart insists on the opposite view, the more the extremist doubts that the counterpart is intellectually capable and honest, and therefore the more he discounts the counterpart's opinion.

Keywords: disagreement, almost common belief, polarization, misspecification, bounded rationality

JEL Classification: D83

Suggested Citation

Catonini, Emiliano and Mayskaya, Tatiana, Talking with an Extremist (April 17, 2023). Economic Theory, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4193429 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4193429

Emiliano Catonini

National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow) - International College of Economics and Finance ( email )

ul. Shabolovka, 26
office 3431
Moscow, 119049
Russia

Tatiana Mayskaya (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow) - International College of Economics and Finance ( email )

Pokrovski Bulvar 11, Korpus Zh, Office 715
Moscow, 109028
Russia

National Research University Higher School of Economics (Moscow) - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Shabolovka 26
Moscow, 119049
Russia

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