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On the Composition of Committees

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  • Klaas J. Beniers

Abstract

This article is concerned with the role of committees in collective decision making processes in a world where agents must be motivated to collect information. Committees improve the quality of decision making by providing information and by coordinating the collection of information. We address two types of questions. First, how does the composition of a committee affect final decisions? Second, what is the optimal composition of a committee from the decision maker's point of view? As to the latter question, we show that the cost of information collection plays an important role. If this cost is low, then the preferences of the committee members should be aligned to those of the decision maker. Members with similar preferences as the decision maker collect the proper pieces of information. Moreover, manipulation of information does not occur if the preferences of the decision maker and the members are consonant. If the cost of searching is high, then the committee should be composed of members with polarized preferences. Outliers have a strong incentive to search for information. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization.

Volume (Year): 20 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 353-378

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:20:y:2004:i:2:p:353-378

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References

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  1. Potters, J.J.M. & Winden, F. van, 1992. "Lobbying and asymmetric information," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-223989, Tilburg University.
  2. Gilligan, Thomas W & Krehbiel, Keith, 1997. "Specialization Decisions within Committee," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 366-86, October.
  3. Bulkley, G. & Myles, G.D. & Pearson, B.R., 2000. "On the Membership of Decision-Making Committees," Discussion Papers 0009, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  4. Vijay Krishna & John Morgan, 2001. "A Model Of Expertise," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 747-775, May.
  5. Gilligan, Thomas W & Krehbiel, Keith, 1987. "Collective Decisionmaking and Standing Committees: An Informational Rationale for Restrictive Amendment Procedures," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 287-335, Fall.
  6. Hao Li & Sherwin Rosen & Wing Suen, 1999. "Conflicts and Common Interests in Committees," NBER Working Papers 7158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Piketty, Thomas, 1999. "The information-aggregation approach to political institutions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 791-800, April.
  8. Robert Dur & Otto H. Swank, 2005. "Producing and Manipulating Information," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 185-199, 01.
  9. Ottaviani, Marco & Sorensen, Peter, 2001. "Information aggregation in debate: who should speak first?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(3), pages 393-421, September.
  10. V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010. "Strategic Information Transmission," Levine's Working Paper Archive 544, David K. Levine.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Silvia Dominguez Martinez & Otto H. Swank, 2004. "Polarization, Information Collection and Electoral Control," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-035/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Sourav Bhattacharya & Maria Goltsman & Arijit Mukherjee, 2013. "On the Optimality of Diverse Expert Panels in Persuasion Games," Working Papers 516, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2013.
  3. Kiel, Alexandra & Gerling, Kerstin & Schulte, Elisabeth & GrĂ¼ner, Hans Peter, 2003. "Information acquisition and decision making in committees: a survey," Working Paper Series 0256, European Central Bank.
  4. Caillaud, Bernard & Tirole, Jean, 2007. "Consensus Building: How to Persuade a Group," IDEI Working Papers 435, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  5. repec:dgr:uvatin:2005028 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. repec:dgr:uvatin:2004035 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Bauke Visser & Otto H. Swank, 2005. "On Committees of Experts," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-028/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Bourjade, Sylvain & Jullien, Bruno, 2004. "Expertise and Bias in Decision Making," MPRA Paper 7251, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jan 2007.
  9. Bourjade, Sylvain & Jullien, Bruno, 2011. "The roles of reputation and transparency on the behavior of biased experts," MPRA Paper 34813, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Irene Valsecchi, 2013. "The expert problem: a survey," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 303-331, November.
  11. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00590459 is not listed on IDEAS

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