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Meetings with Costly Participation


  • Jeffrey S. Rosenthal
  • Martin J. Osborne
  • Matthew A. Turner


We study a collective decision-making process in which people interested in an issue may participate, at a cost, in a meeting, and the resulting decision is a compromise among the participants' preferences. We show that the equilibrium number of participants is small and their positions are extreme, and when the compromise is the median, the outcome is likely to be random. The model and its equilibria are consistent with evidence on the procedures and outcomes of U.S. regulatory hearings.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey S. Rosenthal & Martin J. Osborne & Matthew A. Turner, 2000. "Meetings with Costly Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 927-943, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:90:y:2000:i:4:p:927-943 Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.90.4.927

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Baye, Michael R & Kovenock, Dan & de Vries, Casper G, 1993. "Rigging the Lobbying Process: An Application of the All-Pay Auction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 289-294, March.
    2. Bulkley, George & Myles, Gareth D & Pearson, Bernard R, 2001. "On the Membership of Decision-Making Committees," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 106(1-2), pages 1-22, January.
    3. Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1995. "Corporate Conservatism and Relative Compensation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-25, February.
    4. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Rosenthal, Howard, 1984. "Participation and the provision of discrete public goods: a strategic analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 171-193, July.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:87:y:1993:i:02:p:319-333_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Dixit, Avinash & Olson, Mancur, 2000. "Does voluntary participation undermine the Coase Theorem?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 309-335, June.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:79:y:1985:i:01:p:62-78_22 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Becker, Gary S., 1985. "Public policies, pressure groups, and dead weight costs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 329-347, December.
    9. Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-424, June.
    10. Thomas Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 1983. "A strategic calculus of voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 7-53, January.
    11. Winter, Eyal, 1997. "Negotiations in multi-issue committees," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 323-342, September.
    12. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations


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