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The Power of Diversity over Large Solution Spaces

  • Marco LiCalzi

    ()

    (Department of Management, Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, 30121 Venezia, Italy)

  • Oktay Surucu

    ()

    (Department of Economics and Finance, Università LUISS Guido Carli, 00198 Roma, Italy)

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. This paper was accepted by Teck Ho, decision analysis.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1110.1495
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Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

Volume (Year): 58 (2012)
Issue (Month): 7 (July)
Pages: 1408-1421

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Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:58:y:2012:i:7:p:1408-1421
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  1. Martin G. Kocher & Matthias Sutter, 2004. "The Decision Maker Matters: Individual versus Group Behaviour in Experimental Beauty-Contest Games," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-09, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  2. Roland Bénabou, 2013. "Groupthink: Collective Delusions in Organizations and Markets," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 80(2), pages 429-462.
  3. Gary Bornstein & Tamar Kugler & Anthony Ziegelmeyer, 2002. "Individual and Group Decisions in the Centipede Game: Are Groups More “Rational” Players?," Discussion Paper Series dp298, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  4. Alan S. Blinder & John Morgan, 2008. "Do Monetary Policy Committees Need Leaders? A Report on an Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 224-29, May.
  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, vol. 95(3), pages 477-509, June.
  6. Blinder, Alan S & Morgan, John, 2005. "Are Two Heads Better than One? Monetary Policy by Committee," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 37(5), pages 789-811, October.
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