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Society as Collection of Heterogeneous Individuals: Where Have the Moderates Gone?

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Document pages: 25 pages

Abstract: Increasingly societies are getting polarized. They are dominated by individuals having opposing views. The moderates get marginalized in the debate. Societies with consumption norms, participation in democracy, religious beliefs or social networking groups are some of these which display this behaviour. In this paper we present a simple model that tries to understand what makes individuals choose a society, choose a group and most importantly what sort of belief systems. Our model is based on Akerloff (1997) where individuals consumption decisions are partly based on how they perceive themselves vis a vis the others. Individuals in our model are atomistic. They take the norms as given, respond to it as a utility maximizing individual while thinking that their actions do not affect the norms of the group or the society. This paper answers under what conditions, individuals of a certain type will dominate a society.

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