Rethinking the Micro-Foundation of Opinion Dynamics: Rich Consequences of the Weighted-Median Mechanism

Wenjun Mei, Francesco Bullo, Ge Chen, Julien Hendrickx, Florian Dörfler

Opinion dynamics study how individual exchange opinions under social influence. To fundamentally resolve an unrealistic feature of the universally-adopted weighted-averaging mechanism, we propose the weighted-median mechanism as a new viable micro-foundation of opinion dynamics. Such an inconspicuous change leads to rich consequences and is supported by empirical data. Despite its simplicity, the weighted-median mechanism broadens the applicability of opinion dynamics models to ordered multiple-choice issues, exhibits rich dynamic behavior, and captures various real-world features of opinion evolution.

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