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IDSS Distinguished Seminar Series

Social Networks and the Market for News

October 5, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Rachel Kranton (Duke University)


Abstract: This paper, joint work with David McAdams, introduces a simple market model for news: consumers benefit from and want to share true news and producers incur costs to produce true news. News veracity is endogenous, shaped by the social network. When producer revenues derive from consumers’ viewing stories (e.g., advertising revenue), veracity is low in dense networks, since even false news spreads widely. With revenues from consumers’ actions based on stories (e.g, voting), veracity is higher in dense networks, since consumers make better inferences about news truth. Adding third-party misinformation can increase equilibrium true-news production as consumers respond by being more judicious when sharing stories.

About the speaker: Rachel Kranton studies how institutions and the social setting affect economic outcomes. She develops theories of networks and has introduced identity into economic thinking. Her research contributes to many fields including microeconomics, economic development, and industrial organization. In Identity Economics, Rachel Kranton and collaborator George Akerlof, introduce a general framework to study social norms and identity in economics. In the economics of networks, Rachel Kranton develops formal models of strategic interaction in different economic settings. Her work draws on empirical findings and integrates new mathematical tools to uncover how network structures influence economic outcomes. Rachel Kranton has a long-standing interest in development economics and institutions. She focuses on the costs and benefits of networks and informal exchange, which is economic activity mediated by social relationships rather than markets.

Rachel Kranton earned her Ph.D. in Economics at the University California, Berkeley in 1993. She has held fellowships at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton; she is a fellow of the Econometric Society and a member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Kranton joined Duke’s faculty in 2007 and is currently serving as Dean of the Social Sciences.

Zoom meeting ID: 947 4413 6098
Join Zoom meeting: https://mit.zoom.us/j/94744136098?pwd=VjJ6cWRKR3VqdFE1ZW9FNVg3NWtOZz09

Please contact sbergen@mit.edu to register for this meeting.

YouTube livestream: https://youtu.be/TJWOMYiB7jc

MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307