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Posts from 2012

The Volatility of Social Influence When Everyone is Your Neighbor

There is little doubt that american political elites have become extremely polarized in recent years. Whether ordinary citizens are similarly polarized is a more contentious question — one that continues to polarize scholars. For example, legal scholar Cass Sunstein has argued that the Internet and other information technologies are helping to foster a “balkanized speech market,” in which people expose themselves to likeminded sources and insulate themselves from alternative points of view. Economists Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse Shapiro counter this with evidence that ideological segregation in Internet news consumption is low, both in absolute terms and relative to ordinary face-to-face interactions.

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