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On Committees of Experts

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Author Info

  • Bauke Visser

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)

  • Otto H. Swank

    ()
    (Faculty of Economics, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam)

Abstract

A committee makes a decision on a project on behalf of "the public." Members of the committee agree on the a priori value of the project, and hold additional private information about its consequences. They are experts who care about the value of the project and about being considered well informed. Before voting on the project, members can exchange their private information simultaneously. We show that reputational concerns make the a priori unconventional decision more attractive and lead committees to show a united front. These results hold irrespective of whether information can be manipulated or not. Also, reputational concerns induce members to manipulate information and vote strategically if their preferences differ considerably from those of the member casting the decisive vote. Our last result is that the optimal voting rule balances the quality of information exchange and the alignment of interests of the decisive voter with those of the public. This discussion paper has resulted in a publication in the 'Quarterly Journal of Economics' , 2007, 122(1), 337-372.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tinbergen Institute in its series Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers with number 05-028/1.

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Date of creation: 10 Mar 2005
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:uvatin:20050028

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

Related research

Keywords: Committees; communication; reputational concerns; strategic voting;

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References

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  1. 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.
  2. Suurmond, Guido & Swank, Otto H. & Visser, Bauke, 2004. "On the bad reputation of reputational concerns," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2817-2838, December.
  3. EllenE. Meade & David Stasavage, 2008. "Publicity of Debate and the Incentive to Dissent: Evidence from the US Federal Reserve," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(528), pages 695-717, 04.
  4. Hao Li & Sherwin Rosen & Wing Suen, 1999. "Conflicts and Common Interests in Committees," NBER Working Papers 7158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Nicola Persico, 2004. "Committee Design with Endogenous Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 165-191, 01.
  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. Gabel, Matthew J. & Shipan, Charles R., 2004. "A social choice approach to expert consensus panels," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 543-564, May.
  8. Klaas J. Beniers & Otto H. Swank, 2003. "On the Composition of Committees," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 03-006/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  9. Hans Gersbach & Volker Hahn, 2004. "Voting Transparency, Conflicting Interests, And The Appointment Of Central Bankers," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16, pages 321-345, November.
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