No place like home: opinion formation with homophily and implications for policy decisions

Ali Onder, Marco Portmann, David Stadelmann

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    Abstract

    We set up an opinion diffusion model with a local opinion leader, and using simulations we show the possibility of driving a significant wedge between the opinions of two groups that exhibit homophily although individuals are highly conformist. There exists an opinion gap between the group to which the opinion leader belongs and the other group. This opinion gap increases according to the relative size of the residence community. We show empirical traits related to our simulation: Employing Swiss national referenda data from 2008 to 2012, we show that members of parliament match referenda outcomes in their residence communities closer than they do in neighboring communities and that this wedge interacts significantly with the relative size of the residence community.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)47-76
    Number of pages30
    JournalJournal of Mathematical Sociology
    Volume42
    Issue number2
    Early online date13 Nov 2017
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018

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