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Strategic influence in social networks

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Working paper
Author/s: 
Michel Grabisch, Antoine Mandel, Agnieszka Rusinowska, Emily Tanimura
Issue number: 
2015.06
Series: 
Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne
Publisher: 
Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne
Year: 
2015
We consider a model of influence with a set of non-strategic agents and two strategic agents. The non-strategic agents have initial opinions and are linked through a simply connected network. They update their opinions as in the DeGroot model. The two strategic agents have fixed opinions, 1 and 0 respectively, and are characterized by the magnitude of the impact they can exert on non-strategic agents. Each strategic agent forms a link with one non-strategic agent in order to alter the average opinion that eventually emerges in the network. This procedure defines a zero-sum game whose players are the two strategic agents and whose strategy set is the set of non-strategic agents. We focus on the existence and the characterization of equilibria in pure strategy in this setting. Simple examples show that the existence of a pure strategy equilibrium does depend on the structure of the network. The characterization of equilibrium we obtain emphasizes on the one hand the influenceability of target agents and on the other hand their centrality whose natural measure in our context defines a new concept, related to betweenness centrality, that we call intermediacy. We also show that in the case where the two strategic agents have the same impact, symmetric equilibria emerge as natural solutions whereas in the case where the impacts are uneven, the strategic players generally have differentiated equilibrium targets, the high-impact agent focusing on centrality and the low-impact agent on influenceability.
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