Harnessing the Power of Focal Points To Measure Social Agreement

This paper reports results from an application of Thomas Schelling's (1960) concept of a focal point to the measure of social agreement on the received tone of media content. In our experiments, subjects rate the tone, positive, negative, or neutral, of newspaper articles and news broadcasts, with an incentive to coordinate responses. We compare the content analysis of a traditional subject pool with those of a representative cross-section of the general public. Our application of the coordination game with strategy labels illustrates that the concept of a focal point can be put to use as a measure of social agreement.
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