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On Committees of Experts

Author

Listed:
  • Bauke Visser
  • Otto H. Swank

Abstract

A committee makes a decision on a project on behalf of "the public." Members of the committee agree on the a priori value of the project, and hold additional private information about its consequences. They are experts who care about the value of the project and about being considered well informed. Before voting on the project, members can exchange their private information simultaneously. We show that reputational concerns make the a priori unconventional decision more attractive and lead committees to show a united front. These results hold irrespective of whether information can be manipulated or not. Also, reputational concerns induce members to manipulate information and vote strategically if their preferences differ considerably from those ofthe member casting the decisive vote. Our last result is that the optimal voting rule balances the quality of information exchange and the alignment of interests of the decisive voter with those of the public.

Suggested Citation

  • Bauke Visser & Otto H. Swank, 2007. "On Committees of Experts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 337-372.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:122:y:2007:i:1:p:337-372.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/qjec.122.1.337
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Klaas J. Beniers, 2004. "On the Composition of Committees," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 353-378, October.
    2. Gerling, Kerstin & Gruner, Hans Peter & Kiel, Alexandra & Schulte, Elisabeth, 2005. "Information acquisition and decision making in committees: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 563-597, September.
    3. Hans Gersbach & Volker Hahn, 2004. "Voting Transparency, Conflicting Interests, And The Appointment Of Central Bankers," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16, pages 321-345, November.
    4. 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.
    5. Milbourn, Todd T & Shockley, Richard L & Thakor, Anjan V, 2001. "Managerial Career Concerns and Investments in Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(2), pages 334-351, Summer.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:92:y:1998:i:01:p:23-35_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:94:y:2000:i:02:p:375-393_22 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Suurmond, Guido & Swank, Otto H. & Visser, Bauke, 2004. "On the bad reputation of reputational concerns," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2817-2838, December.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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