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Endogenous competence and a limit to the Condorcet Jury Theorem

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  • Bryan C. McCannon

    () (West Virginia University)

  • Paul Walker

    () (West Virginia University)

Abstract

The seminal contribution known as the Condorcet Jury Theorem observes that under a specific set of conditions an increase in the size of a group tasked with making a binary decision (“guilty or “innocent, say) leads to an improvement in the group’s ability to make the correct choice. An assumption that is not properly appreciated in the relevant literature is that the competency of the group members is assumed to be exogenous. In numerous applications, members of the group make investments to improve the accuracy of their decision making (e.g., pre-meeting efforts). We consider the collective action problem that arises. We show that if individual competence is endogenous, then increases in the group size encourages free riding. This trades off with the value of information aggregation. Thus, the value of the larger group size is muted. Extensions illustrate that if committee members are allowed to exit/not participate, the equilibrium committee size is reduced. Additionally, supermajority voting rules encourage investments and, consequently, individual competence.

Suggested Citation

  • Bryan C. McCannon & Paul Walker, 2016. "Endogenous competence and a limit to the Condorcet Jury Theorem," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 169(1), pages 1-18, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:169:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-016-0366-z
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-016-0366-z
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Guha Brishti, 2020. "Pretrial Beliefs and Verdict Accuracy: Costly Juror Effort and Free Riding," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 20(2), pages 1-9, June.
    2. Aimone, Jason A. & North, Charles & Rentschler, Lucas, 2019. "Priming the jury by asking for Donations: An empirical and experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 158-167.
    3. Bryan C. McCannon, 2018. "Arbitration in classical Athens," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 29(4), pages 413-423, December.
    4. Alexander Lundberg, 2020. "The importance of expertise in group decisions," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 55(3), pages 495-521, October.
    5. Guha, Brishti, 2018. "Secret ballots and costly information gathering: The jury size problem revisited," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 58-67.
    6. Guha Brishti, 2020. "Should Jurors Deliberate?," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 16(2), pages 1-27, July.
    7. Darren Grant, 2017. "The ballot order effect is huge: evidence from Texas," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 172(3), pages 421-442, September.
    8. Bryan C. McCannon & Joylynn Pruitt, 2018. "Taking on the boss: Informative contests in prosecutor elections," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 20(5), pages 657-671, October.
    9. Guha, Brishti, 2017. "Should Jurors Deliberate?," MPRA Paper 79876, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Committee decision making; Condorcet Jury Theorem; Endogenous competence; Group size; Majority voting; Supermajority voting;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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