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Committee Decisions under Majority Rule: An Experimental Study

Fiorina, Morris P. and Plott, Charles R. (1978) Committee Decisions under Majority Rule: An Experimental Study. American Political Science Review, 72 (2). pp. 575-598. ISSN 0003-0554.

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This article reports the findings of a series of experiments on committee decision making under majority rule. The committee members had relatively fixed preferences, so that the process was one of making decisions rather than one of problem solving. The predictions of a variety of models drawn from Economics, Sociology, Political Science and Game Theory were compared to the experimental results. One predictive concept, the core of the noncooperative game without side payments (equivalent to the majority rule equilibrium) consistently performed best. Significantly, however, even when such an outcome did not exist, the experimental results did not display the degree of unpredictability that some theoretical work would suggest. An important subsidiary finding concerns the difference between experiments conducted under conditions of high stakes versus those conducted under conditions of much lower stakes. The findings in the two conditions differed considerably, thus calling into question the political applicability of numerous social psychological experiments in which subjects had little or no motivation.

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Additional Information:© 1978 American Political Science Association. The financial support for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation, Economics and Political Science Programs. We gratefully acknowledge this support. For their invaluable research assistance and healthy skepticism we thank Randy Calvert, Linda Cohen, James Hong, and Darwin Niekirk. We also wish to thank John Jackson whose comments helped shape some aspects of this research
Group:Social Science Working Papers
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Social Science Working Paper101
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131219-114045216
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Official Citation:Committee Decisions under Majority Rule: An Experimental Study Morris P. Fiorina and Charles R. Plott The American Political Science Review , Vol. 72, No. 2 (Jun., 1978) , pp. 575-598 Published by: American Political Science Association Article Stable URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:43099
Deposited On:20 Dec 2013 16:06
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 06:04

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