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Deliberating Collective Decisions

Chan, Jimmy and Lizzeri, Alessandro and Suen, Wing and Yariv, Leeat (2018) Deliberating Collective Decisions. Review of Economic Studies, 85 (2). pp. 929-963. ISSN 0034-6527. doi:10.1093/restud/rdx028.

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We present a dynamic model of sequential information acquisition by a heterogeneous committee. At each date, agents decide whether to vote to adopt one of two alternatives or continue to collect more information. The process stops when a qualified majority vote for an alternative. Three main insights emerge from our analysis and are consistent with an array of stylized facts regarding committee decision making. First, majority rule is more vulnerable than super-majority rules to the disproportionate influence of impatient committee members. Second, more diverse preferences, more patient members, or more unanimous decision voting rules lead to lengthier deliberation and more accurate decisions. Finally, balanced committees unanimously prefer to delegate deliberation power to a moderate chairman rather than be governed by a rule such as unanimity.

Item Type:Article
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Additional Information:© 2018 Review of Economic Studies Ltd. First version received June 2011; Editorial decision April 2017; Accepted April 2017 (Eds.) This article is the result of a consolidation of ‘Does Majority Rule Produce Hasty Decisions?’ by Chan and Suen, and ‘Sequential Deliberation’ by Lizzeri and Yariv. Ben Chiao, Jacques Cremer, John Morgan, Nicola Persico, Debraj Ray, Nikita Roketskiy, and Erik Snowberg provided very helpful conversations and feedback. We thank the editor, Marco Ottaviani, and six anonymous referees for many useful comments and suggestions. We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (grant 1158), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (project no. 71171125), the National Science Foundation (SES 0551014), the Shanghai Dongfang Xuezhe Program, and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (project no. HKU753911).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation1158
National Natural Science Foundation of China71171125
Shanghai Dongfang Xuezhe ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Research Grants Council of Hong KongHKU753911
Subject Keywords:sequential likelihood ratio test, optimal stopping, swing voters, collective learning
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:JEL Classification: D71, D72, D83
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180418-093906720
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Official Citation:Jimmy Chan, Alessandro Lizzeri, Wing Suen, Leeat Yariv; Deliberating Collective Decisions, The Review of Economic Studies, Volume 85, Issue 2, 1 April 2018, Pages 929–963,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:85937
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:18 Apr 2018 20:57
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:33

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