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On the Composition of Committees

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Author Info

  • Klaas J. Beniers

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

  • Otto H. Swank

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Abstract

This paper is concerned with the role of committees in collective decision-makingprocesses in a world where agents must be motivated to collect information. Committees improvethe quality of decision-making by providing information and by coordinating the collection ofinformation. We address two types of questions. First, how does the composition of a committeeaffect final decisions? Second, what is the optimal composition of a committee from thedecision maker's point of view? As to the latter question, we show that the cost of informationcollection plays an important role. If this cost is low, then the preferences of the committeemembers should be aligned to those of the decision maker. Members with similar preferences asthe decision maker collect the proper pieces of information. Moreover, manipulation ofinformation does not occur if the preferences of the decision maker and the members areconsonant. If the cost of searching is high, then the committee should be composed ofmembers with polarized preferences. Outliers have a strong incentive to search for information.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 03-006/1.

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Date of creation: 16 Jan 2003
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20030006

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Web page: http://www.tinbergen.nl

Related research

Keywords: committees; information collection; preference outliers; moderates.;

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References

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  1. Bulkley, G. & Myles, G.D. & Pearson, B.R., 2000. "On the Membership of Decision-Making Committees," Discussion Papers 0009, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
  2. Hao Li & Sherwin Rosen & Wing Suen, 1999. "Conflicts and Common Interests in Committees," NBER Working Papers 7158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Vijay Krishna & John Morgan, 2001. "A Model Of Expertise," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 747-775, May.
  4. V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010. "Strategic Information Transmission," Levine's Working Paper Archive 544, David K. Levine.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Robert Dur & Otto H. Swank, 2005. "Producing and Manipulating Information," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 185-199, 01.
  8. Piketty, Thomas, 1999. "The information-aggregation approach to political institutions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 791-800, April.
  9. 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.
  10. Potters, Jan & van Winden, Frans, 1992. " Lobbying and Asymmetric Information," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 269-92, October.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bourjade, Sylvain & Jullien, Bruno, 2004. "Expertise and Bias in Decision Making," MPRA Paper 7251, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jan 2007.
  2. Silvia Dominguez Martinez & Otto H. Swank, 2004. "Polarization, Information Collection and Electoral Control," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-035/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Silvia Dominguez-Martinez & Otto Swank, 2006. "Polarization, Information Collection and Electoral Control," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 527-545, June.
  4. Bernard Caillaud & Jean Tirole, 2007. "Consensus Building: How to Persuade a Group," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(5), pages 1877-1900, December.
  5. Gerling, Kerstin & Gruner, Hans Peter & Kiel, Alexandra & Schulte, Elisabeth, 2005. "Information acquisition and decision making in committees: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 563-597, September.
  6. 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.
  7. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00590459 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Bauke Visser & Otto H Swank, 2007. "On Committees of Experts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 337-372, 02.
  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. Bauke Visser & Otto H. Swank, 2005. "On Committees of Experts," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-028/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  11. Irene Valsecchi, 2013. "The expert problem: a survey," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(4), pages 303-331, November.

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