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Costly Voting in Weighted Committees: The case of moral costs

Author

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  • Nicola Maaser

    (Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University)

  • Thomas Stratmann

    (Department of Economics, George Mason University)

Abstract

We develop a theoretical model of voting behavior in committees when members differ in influence and receive payoffs that condition on the individual vote and the collective decision. Applied to a group decision involving moral costs, the model predicts that the distribution of decision-making power affects committee members’ incentives to make immoral choices: More influential agents tend to support the immoral choice, while less influential agents free-ride. A skewed power distribution makes immoral collective choices more likely. We then present results of a laboratory experiment that studies committee members’ voting behavior and collective choices under different distributions of decision-making power. As hypothesized, we find that the frequency of immoral decisions is positively related to an agent’s voting power.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicola Maaser & Thomas Stratmann, 2021. "Costly Voting in Weighted Committees: The case of moral costs," Economics Working Papers 2021-11, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
  • Handle: RePEc:aah:aarhec:2021-11
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Moral decision-making; Committees; Decision rules; Deception; Institutions; Threshold public good games; Laboratory experiments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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