IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Same process, different outcomes: group performance in an acquiring a company experiment


  • Marco Casari

    (University of Bologna)

  • Jingjing Zhang

    () (University of Technology Sydney)

  • Christine Jackson

    (Purdue University)


Abstract It is still an open question when groups perform better than individuals in intellective tasks. We report that in an Acquiring a Company game, what prevailed when there was disagreement among group members was the median proposal and not the best proposal. This aggregation rule explains why groups underperformed with respect to a “truth wins” benchmark and why they performed better than individuals deciding in isolation in a simple version of the task but worse in the more difficult version. Implications are drawn on when to employ groups rather than individuals in decision making.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Casari & Jingjing Zhang & Christine Jackson, 2016. "Same process, different outcomes: group performance in an acquiring a company experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(4), pages 764-791, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:19:y:2016:i:4:d:10.1007_s10683-015-9467-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s10683-015-9467-7

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Davis, James H., 1992. "Some compelling intuitions about group consensus decisions, theoretical and empirical research, and interpersonal aggregation phenomena: Selected examples 1950-1990," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 3-38, June.
    2. John Kagel & Hankyoung Sung & Eyal Winter, 2010. "Veto power in committees: an experimental study," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 13(2), pages 167-188, June.
    3. Jingjing Zhang & Marco Casari, 2012. "How Groups Reach Agreement In Risky Choices: An Experiment," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(2), pages 502-515, April.
    4. Matthias Sutter & Martin G. Kocher & Sabine Strauss, 2009. "Individuals and teams in auctions," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(2), pages 380-394, April.
    5. Charness, Gary & Karni, Edi & Levin, Dan, 2010. "On the conjunction fallacy in probability judgment: New experimental evidence regarding Linda," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 551-556, March.
    6. Samuelson, William F, 1984. "Bargaining under Asymmetric Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 995-1005, July.
    7. Martin Kocher & Matthias Sutter, 2007. "Individual versus group behavior and the role of the decision making procedure in gift-exchange experiments," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 63-88, March.
    8. Holt, Charles A & Sherman, Roger, 1994. "The Loser's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 642-652, June.
    9. Bajari, Patrick & Hortacsu, Ali, 2003. " The Winner's Curse, Reserve Prices, and Endogenous Entry: Empirical Insights from eBay Auctions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(2), pages 329-355, Summer.
    10. Martin G. Kocher & Matthias Sutter, 2005. "The Decision Maker Matters: Individual Versus Group Behaviour in Experimental Beauty-Contest Games," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 200-223, January.
    11. Charles A. Holt & Susan K. Laury, 2002. "Risk Aversion and Incentive Effects," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1644-1655, December.
    12. 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.
    13. James Cox & Stephen Hayne, 2006. "Barking up the right tree: Are small groups rational agents?," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 9(3), pages 209-222, September.
    14. Gary Charness & Dan Levin, 2009. "The Origin of the Winner's Curse: A Laboratory Study," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 207-236, February.
    15. Roman Sheremeta & Jingjing Zhang, 2010. "Can groups solve the problem of over-bidding in contests?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 35(2), pages 175-197, July.
    16. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
    17. Charness, Gary & Cooper, David & Grossman, Zachary, 2015. "Silence is Golden: Â Communication Costs and Team Problem Solving," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt3n25b620, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
    18. Irving Lorge & Herbert Solomon, 1955. "Two models of group behavior in the solution of eureka-type problems," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 20(2), pages 139-148, June.
    19. David J. Cooper & Matthias Sutter, 2011. "Role selection and team performance," Working Papers 2011-14, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    20. Reinhard Selten & Klaus Abbink & Ricarda Cox, 2005. "Learning Direction Theory and the Winner’s Curse," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 8(1), pages 5-20, April.
    21. Francesco Feri & Bernd Irlenbusch & Matthias Sutter, 2010. "Efficiency Gains from Team-Based Coordination—Large-Scale Experimental Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(4), pages 1892-1912, September.
    22. Brit Grosskopf & Yoella Bereby-Meyer & Max Bazerman, 2007. "On the Robustness of the Winner’s Curse Phenomenon," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 63(4), pages 389-418, December.
    23. David J. Cooper & John H. Kagel, 2009. "The Role of Context and Team Play in Cross-Game Learning," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(5), pages 1101-1139, September.
    24. 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.
    25. Gillet, Joris & Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 2009. "The tragedy of the commons revisited: The importance of group decision-making," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 785-797, June.
    26. Gary Charness & Matthias Sutter, 2012. "Groups Make Better Self-Interested Decisions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 157-176, Summer.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:expeco:v:19:y:2016:i:4:d:10.1007_s10683-015-9467-7. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.