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Decision Making in Committees: Transparency, Reputation, and Voting Rules

  • Gilat Levy

In this paper I analyze the effect of transparency on decision making in committees. I focus on committees whose members are motivated by career concerns. The main result is that when the decision-making process is secretive (when individual votes are not revealed to the public), committee members comply with preexisting biases. For example, if the voting rule demands a supermajority to accept a reform, individuals vote more often against reforms. Transparent committees are therefore more likely to accept reforms. I also find that coupled with the right voting rule, a secretive procedure may induce better decisions than a transparent one. (JEL D71, D72)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.97.1.150
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 97 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 150-168

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:97:y:2007:i:1:p:150-168
Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.97.1.150
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  1. Nicola Persico, 2004. "Committee Design with Endogenous Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 165-191.
  2. 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.
  3. David Austen-Smith & Tim Feddersen, 2002. "Deliberation and Voting Rules," Discussion Papers 1359, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Anne Sibert, 2003. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 649-665.
  5. Andrea Prat, 2004. "The wrong kind of transparency," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24712, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  6. Sibert, Anne, 1999. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," CEPR Discussion Papers 2328, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1999. "Managerial Incentive Problems: A Dynamic Perspective," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 169-82, January.
  8. Levy, Gilat, 2004. "Anti-herding and strategic consultation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 503-525, June.
  9. Daniel Seidmann, 2006. "Optimal Quotas in Private Committees," Discussion Papers 2006-10, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  10. Daniel Seidmann, 2006. "Optimal Quotas in Private Committees," Discussion Papers 2006-10, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  11. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1996. "Convicting the Innocent: The Inferiority of Unanimous Jury Verdicts," Discussion Papers 1170, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  12. Trueman, Brett, 1994. "Analyst Forecasts and Herding Behavior," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 7(1), pages 97-124.
  13. Nicola Persico, 2004. "Committee Design with Endogenous Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 165-191, 01.
  14. John Fingleton, 2005. "Career Concerns of Bargainers," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 179-204, April.
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