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The power of diversity over large solution spaces

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  • Marco LiCalzi

    ()
    (Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia)

  • Oktay Surucu

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Business, LUISS Roma)

Abstract

We consider a team of agents with limited problem-solving ability facing a disjunctive task over a large solution space. We provide sufficient conditions for the following four statements. First, two heads are better than one: a team of two agents will solve the problem even if neither agent alone would be able to. Second, teaming up does not guarantee success: if the agents are not sufficiently creative, even a team of arbitrary size may fail to solve the problem. Third, "defendit numerus": when the agent's problem-solving ability is adversely affected by the complexity of the solution space, the solution of the problem requires only a mild increase in the size of the team. Fourth, groupthink impairs the power of diversity: if agents' abilities are positively correlated, a larger team is necessary to solve the problem.

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File URL: http://virgo.unive.it/wpideas/storage/2011wp1.pdf
File Function: Revised version, 2011
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia in its series Working Papers with number 1.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2011
Date of revision: Sep 2011
Handle: RePEc:vnm:wpdman:1

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Web page: http://www.unive.it/dip.management
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Related research

Keywords: Problem-solving; Bounded rationality; Theory of teams; Groupthink;

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References

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  1. Benabou, Roland, 2013. "Groupthink: Collective Delusions in Organizations and Markets," IZA Discussion Papers, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) 7322, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Martin G. Kocher & Matthias Sutter, 2004. "The Decision Maker Matters: Individual versus Group Behaviour in Experimental Beauty-Contest Games," Papers on Strategic Interaction, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group 2004-09, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  3. Blinder, Alan S & Morgan, John, 2005. "Are Two Heads Better than One? Monetary Policy by Committee," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(5), pages 789-811, October.
  4. Gary Bornstein & Tamar Kugler & Anthony Ziegelmeyer, 2002. "Individual and Group Decisions in the Centipede Game: Are Groups More “Rational” Players?," Discussion Paper Series, The Center for the Study of Rationality, Hebrew University, Jerusalem dp298, The Center for the Study of Rationality, Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  5. David J. Cooper & John H. Kagel, 2005. "Are Two Heads Better Than One? Team versus Individual Play in Signaling Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 477-509, June.
  6. Alan S. Blinder & John Morgan, 2008. "Do Monetary Policy Committees Need Leaders? A Report on an Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 224-29, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Andrea Collevecchio & Marco LiCalzi, 2011. "The probability of nontrivial common knowledge," Working Papers, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia 6, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, revised Mar 2012.
  2. Marco LiCalzi & Lucia Milone, 2012. "Talent management in triadic organizational architectures," Working Papers, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia 4, Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia.
  3. John A Weymark, . "Cognitive Diversity, Binary Decisions, and Epistemic Democracy," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics vuecon-sub-14-00009, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.

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