Working Paper BETA #2022-33

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Title : Opinion Dynamics and Political Persuasion

Author(s) : David Desmarchelier, Thomas Lanzi

Abstract : This paper proposes to adapt a simple disease spread model for political persuasion. More precisely, we observe how a policy presented by a leader prevails into a population divided in two groups: subscribers and resistants. At each date, agents from the two groups meet and influence each other due to the leaderís persuasion force. If the leader's persuasion force dominates (is dominated), then some resistants (subscribers) become subscribers (resistants). Moreover, agents can also change their opinions simply because of the attractive force of each groups (intrinsic attraction). In the long run, it appears that a high attractive force can compensate a lack of persuasion force to ensure that more than half members subscribe to the policy presented by the leader. Such a situation is stable. Conversely, a high persuasion force, when the attractive force of the leader's group is relatively low, can generate the occurrence of a two-period cycle through a flip bifurcation such that the leader looses the majority from a period to another.

Key-words : Flip bifurcation, Opinion dynamics, Political persuasion, SIS models.

JEL Classification : C61, D72