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Size and distributional uncertainty, public information and the information paradox


  • Hans Gersbach

    () (UniversitÄt Heidelberg, Alfred-Weber-Institut, Grabengasse 14, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany)


In this paper we examine the strategic implications of collective acquisition of information in a committee or in a legislature. We show that the prospect of acquiring information can harm a majority even if information is only available by the support of a majority. Moreover, the model provides two results about incentives to acquire information. First, for policies with high distributional uncertainties, we expect that less information is acquired collectively by a committee than for other policies. Second, for policies that show only size uncertainty, our model predicts intense efforts to acquire information collectively.

Suggested Citation

  • Hans Gersbach, 2000. "Size and distributional uncertainty, public information and the information paradox," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 17(2), pages 241-246.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:17:y:2000:i:2:p:241-246
    Note: Received: 20 January 1997/Accepted: 15 February 1999

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fields, Gary S & Fei, John C H, 1978. "On Inequality Comparisons," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(2), pages 303-316, March.
    2. Dasgupta, Partha & Sen, Amartya & Starrett, David, 1973. "Notes on the measurement of inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 180-187, April.
    3. Bossert, Walter, 1989. "On the extension of preferences over a set to the power set: An axiomatic characterization of a quasi-ordering," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 84-92, October.
    4. Sen, Amartya, 1973. "On Economic Inequality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198281931.
    5. Prasanta K. PATTANAIK & Yongsheng XU, 1990. "On Ranking Opportunity Sets in Terms of Freedom of Choice," Discussion Papers (REL - Recherches Economiques de Louvain) 1990036, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    6. Nitzan, Shmuel I. & Pattanaik, Prasanta K., 1984. "Median-based extensions of an ordering over a set to the power set: An axiomatic characterization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 252-261, December.
    7. Kannai, Yakar & Peleg, Bezalel, 1984. "A note on the extension of an order on a set to the power set," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 172-175, February.
    8. Sen, Amartya, 1991. "Welfare, preference and freedom," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 15-29, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jordi Blanes i Vidal & Marc Möller, 2016. "Team Adaptation," CEP Discussion Papers dp1421, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. repec:kap:pubcho:v:173:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0462-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Huber, Jurgen, 2007. "`J'-shaped returns to timing advantage in access to information - Experimental evidence and a tentative explanation," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 31(8), pages 2536-2572, August.

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