Why Echo Chambers are Useful

Oct 2018 | 857

Authors: Ole Jann

Ole Jann, Christoph Schottmüller

Why do people appear to forgo information by sorting into “echo chambers”? We construct a highly tractable multi-sender, multi-receiver cheap talk game in which players choose with whom to communicate. We show that segregation into small, homogeneous groups can improve everybody’s information and generate Pareto-improvements. Polarized preferences create a need for segregation; uncertainty about preferences magnifies this need. Using data from Twitter, we show several behavioral patterns that are consistent with the results of our model.

JEL Codes: D72, D82 (Asymmetric Information), D83 (Learning, Communication), D85 (Network Formation and Analysis)

Keywords: Asymmetric Information, Echo Chambers, Polarization, Debate, Cheap Talk, Information Aggregation, Twitter

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