Deliberation and Social Polarization
30 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2006
Date Written: January 25, 2006
We develop a theory of social polarization induced by "deliberation as self-discovery." In such deliberation, intrinsically persuasive arguments activate the "latent" reasons of the corresponding listeners, whose beliefs about the best alternative change only in response to arguments they find persuasive. In equilibrium, agents sort into ideologically biased groups with speakers whose ideological bias reinforces their own. These choices, in turn, give rise to group polarization - a widely cited phenomenon whereby deliberation in biased groups leads individuals to adopt post-deliberative positions more extreme than their prior bias.
Keywords: deliberation, ideological polarization, groups
JEL Classification: D70, D82
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation