Who is locally influential these days?


Who do people think are influential in their own community? This question is important for understanding topics such as social networks, political party networks, civic engagement, and local politics. At the same time as research on these topics has grown, measurement of public perceptions of local influence has dried up. Years ago, researchers took active interest in the question of community influence. They found that most ordinary Americans could identify a person who they thought had influence in their community. Respondents usually named business leaders. Where does the public stand today? In three different ways, we ask respondents who has local influence. The vast majority of respondents today cannot think of anyone. Those who do identify someone as influential rarely choose a businessperson. This article aims to reintroduce the public opinion of community influence and situate findings in related scholarship.

Here is the new article by Joshua Hochberg and Eitan Hersh.  David Brooks, telephone!  Don’t even ask how the “religious leaders” fare in the polling…


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