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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. Bettina Kuon & Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Barbara Mathauschek, 1999. "Teams Take the Better Risks," Discussion Paper Serie B 452, University of Bonn, Germany.
  2. 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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  6. Charness, Gary B & Karni, Edi, 2007. "Individual and Group Decision Making Under Risk: An Experimental Study of Bayesian Updating and Violations of First-order Stochastic Dominance," University of California at Santa Barbara, Economics Working Paper Series qt4gr7j8z8, Department of Economics, UC Santa Barbara.
  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. Ronald J. Baker II & Susan K. Laury & Arlington W. Williams, 2008. "Comparing Small-Group and Individual Behavior in Lottery-Choice Experiments," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 367-382, October.
  9. Matthias Sutter, 2004. "Are four heads better than two? An experimental beauty-contest game with teams of different size," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2004-15, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  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. 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.
  14. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
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