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How groups reach agreement in risky choices: an experiment

  • M. Casari
  • J. Zhang

This paper studies how groups resolve disagreement in lottery choices. In an experiment, subjects submit individual proposals, exchange chat messages, and must reach unanimity. Overall, group choices are more coherent and closer to risk neutrality than individuals’. The proposal of the minority prevails in about one instance out of five. About one third of the groups do not reach immediate agreement after communication. In these groups, extrovert subjects are more likely to lead the group outcome than confused or conscientious subjects. The amount, equality and timing of chat messages help us to predict which choice prevails in the group.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number 665.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:665
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  1. Robert S. Shupp & Arlington Williams, 2003. "Risk Preference Differentials of Small Groups and Individuals," Working Papers 200301, Ball State University, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2006.
  2. Ronald J. Baker II & Susan K. Laury & Arlington W. Williams, 2007. "Comparing Small-Group and Individual Behavior in Lottery-Choice Experiments," Caepr Working Papers 2007-018, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
  3. Gary Charness & Edi Karni & Dan Levin, 2007. "Individual and group decision making under risk: An experimental study of Bayesian updating and violations of first-order stochastic dominance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 129-148, October.
  4. Cason, Timothy N & Mui, Vai-Lam, 1997. "A Laboratory Study of Group Polarisation in the Team Dictator Game," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(444), pages 1465-83, September.
  5. Martin G. Kocher & Matthias Sutter, 2004. "The Decision Maker Matters: Individual versus Group Behaviour in Experimental Beauty-Contest Games," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-09, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  6. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  7. Gillet, Joris & Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 2009. "The tragedy of the commons revisited: The importance of group decision-making," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(5-6), pages 785-797, June.
  8. Isaac, R Mark & Walker, James M, 1988. "Communication and Free-Riding Behavior: The Voluntary Contribution Mechanism," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(4), pages 585-608, October.
  9. James Cox & Stephen Hayne, 2006. "Barking up the right tree: Are small groups rational agents?," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 209-222, September.
  10. Sutter, Matthias, 2005. "Are four heads better than two? An experimental beauty-contest game with teams of different size," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 41-46, July.
  11. David J. Cooper & John H. Kagel, 2005. "Are Two Heads Better Than One? Team versus Individual Play in Signaling Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 477-509, June.
  12. Laughlin, Patrick R. & Bonner, Bryan L. & Miner, Andrew G., 2002. "Groups perform better than the best individuals on Letters-to-Numbers problems," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 605-620, July.
  13. Rockenbach, Bettina & Sadrieh, Abdolkarim & Mathauschek, Barbara, 2007. "Teams take the better risks," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 412-422, July.
  14. Hackett Steven & Schlager Edella & Walker James, 1994. "The Role of Communication in Resolving Commons Dilemmas: Experimental Evidence with Heterogeneous Appropriators," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 99-126, September.
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