Public Protests, Social Media and Policy Making

43 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2015 Last revised: 16 Apr 2015

See all articles by Marco Battaglini

Marco Battaglini

Princeton University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: April 15, 2015


We explore the limits of petitions and public protests as mechanisms to aggregate dispersed information. We show that if citizens’ signals are not sufficiently precise, information aggregation is impossible, even if the conflict with the policy-maker is small, no matter how large is the population of informed citizens. We characterize the conditions on conflict and the signal structure that guarantee information aggregation. When these conditions are satisfied, we show that full information aggregation is possible as population grows to infinity. When they are not satisfied, we show that information aggregation may still be possible if social media are available.

Suggested Citation

Battaglini, Marco, Public Protests, Social Media and Policy Making (April 15, 2015). Princeton University William S. Dietrich II Economic Theory Center Research Paper No. 068_2015, Available at SSRN: or

Marco Battaglini (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

213 Fisher Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544
United States
609-258-4002 (Phone)
609-258-6419 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

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