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Committees versus individuals: an experimental analysis of monetary policy decision-making

  • Clare Lombardelli
  • James Proudman
  • James Talbot

The results of an experimental analysis of monetary policy decision-making under uncertainty are reported. A large sample of economically literate undergraduate and postgraduate students from the London School of Economics was used to play a simple monetary policy game, both as individuals and in committees of five players. The findings - that groups make better decisions than individuals - accord with previous work by Blinder and Morgan. An attempt was also made to establish why group decision-making is superior. The results show that some of the benefit is related to the ability of committees to strip out the effect of bad play in any given period. But there is a significant additional improvement, which is argued to be associated with the ability of committee members to share information and learn from each other by observing other members' interest rate responses. One surprising result is that the superiority of committee decision-making does not appear to be related to the ability to discuss the interest rate decision.

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Paper provided by Bank of England in its series Bank of England working papers with number 165.

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Date of creation: Sep 2002
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Handle: RePEc:boe:boeewp:165
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  1. Gerlach-Kristen, Petra, 2006. "Monetary policy committees and interest rate setting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 487-507, February.
  2. Lars E.O. Svensson & Michael Woodford, 2000. "Indicator Variables for Optimal Policy," NBER Working Papers 7953, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Jeff Fuhrer & George Moore, 1993. "Inflation persistence," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 93-17, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  4. Svensson, Lars E. O. & Woodford, Michael, 2004. "Indicator variables for optimal policy under asymmetric information," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 661-690, January.
  5. Anne Sibert, 1999. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," CESifo Working Paper Series 226, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Aoki, Kosuke, 2002. "Optimal Commitment Policy Under Noisy Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 3370, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Barro, Robert J. & Gordon, David B., 1983. "Rules, discretion and reputation in a model of monetary policy," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 101-121.
  8. Anne Sibert, 2003. "Monetary Policy Committees: Individual and Collective Reputations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(3), pages 649-665.
  9. Aoki, Kosuke, 2003. "On the optimal monetary policy response to noisy indicators," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 501-523, April.
  10. Alan S. Blinder, 1999. "Central Banking in Theory and Practice," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522608, June.
  11. Alan S. Blinder & John Morgan, 2001. "Are Two Heads Better Than One?: An Experimental Analysis of Group vs. Individual Decisionmaking," Working Papers 130, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies..
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