van den Brink, René Rusinowska, Agnieszka Steffen, Frank
Year of Publication:
Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. 09-052/1
A well known and established model in communication policy in sociology and marketing is that of opinion leadership. Opinion leaders are actors in a society who are able to affect the behavior of other members called followers. Hence, opinion leaders might have a considerable impact on the behavior of markets and other social agglomerations being made up of individual actors choosing among different alternatives. For marketing or policy purposes it is interesting to investigate the effect of different opinion leader-follower structures in markets or other collective decision-making situations in a society. We study a two-action model in which the members of a society are to choose one action, for instance, to buy or not to buy a certain joint product, or to vote yes or no on a specific proposal. Each of the actors has an inclination to choose one of the actions. By definition opinion leaders have some power over their followers, and they exercise this power by influencing the behavior of their followers, i.e. their choice of action. After all actors have chosen their actions, a decision-making mechanism determines the collective choice resulting from the individual choices. Using bipartite digraphs we introduce satisfaction and power scores which allow us to analyze the actors' satisfaction and power with respect to the collective choice for societies with different opinion leader-follower structures. Moreover, we study common dictator and opinion leader properties of the above scores and illustrate our findings for a society with five members.