The Probability of Pluralistic Ignorance

Mauricio Fernández Duque, Profesor Investigador Titular de la División de Economía del CIDE, escribió el artículo The Probability of Pluralistic Ignorance en el Journal of Economic Theory.



I develop a theory of group interaction in which individuals who act sequentially are concerned with conforming to what they believe is the majority attitude. Pluralistic ignorance may arise, an outcome with incomplete learning in which individuals conform to a mistaken sense of the majority attitude, earning the majority’s disapproval. The degree of uncertainty about the population distribution of attitudes affects what individuals learn about the group. A central finding is that the learning dynamics have a different impact on the probability of pluralistic ignorance in small and in large groups. I derive the maximum and minimum probabilities of pluralistic ignorance for groups of different sizes, as a function of the preferences for conformity and of uncertainty over attitudes. The theory provides hypotheses about underexplored questions regarding the prevalence of pluralistic ignorance.


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