The origins of influence

Elsevier BV
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Economic Modelling, 2020
Issue Date:
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© 2020 Elsevier B.V. Influencers can broadly affect behavior. The developed model identifies a desire to conform as supporting a hierarchical social structure of influencers and followers. I introduce a dynamic model in which choices made are valued based on their popularity. Individuals are modeled as pursuing private interests with only limited information gathered from personal experiences. The analysis reveals that the population develops a network of stable personal relationships relied upon to identify the popular choice. Without explicitly modeling a role for leaders, a leader and followers emerge as ex post behavior types. Environment, behavior, and individuality shape network formation and outcomes. The theoretical equilibrium is not the only stable outcome. Coordination is achieved when adaptive behavior transforms an otherwise transitory local success into a permanent social structure for disseminating information. Despite backward-looking reliance to inform the current decisions, individuals can favorably shape outcomes with forward-looking strategic handling of information.
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