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Symmetric and Asymmetric Committees

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  • Ruth Ben-Yashar
  • Leif Danziger

Abstract

This paper studies the assignment of decision makers to two committees that make decisions by a simple majority rule. There is an even number of decision makers at each of various skill levels and each committee has an odd number of members. Surprisingly, even with the symmetric assumptions in the spirit of Condorcet, a symmetric composition of committees is not always optimal. In other words, decision makers with different skill levels should not generally be evenly divided among the committees. However, in the special case of only two skill levels, it is optimal to compose the committees evenly.

Suggested Citation

  • Ruth Ben-Yashar & Leif Danziger, 2011. "Symmetric and Asymmetric Committees," CESifo Working Paper Series 3501, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3501
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ben-Yashar, Ruth C & Nitzan, Shmuel I, 1997. "The Optimal Decision Rule for Fixed-Size Committees in Dichotomous Choice Situations: The General Result," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 38(1), pages 175-186, February.
    2. Ladha, Krishna K., 1995. "Information pooling through majority-rule voting: Condorcet's jury theorem with correlated votes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 353-372, May.
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    5. Thomas Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 1983. "A strategic calculus of voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 7-53, January.
    6. Raaj Kumar Sah, 1991. "Fallibility in Human Organizations and Political Systems," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 67-88, Spring.
    7. Nitzan, Shmuel & Paroush, Jacob, 1982. "Optimal Decision Rules in Uncertain Dichotomous Choice Situations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 23(2), pages 289-297, June.
    8. Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey S., 1996. "Information Aggregation, Rationality, and the Condorcet Jury Theorem," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 90(1), pages 34-45, March.
    9. Ruth Ben-Yashar & Igal Milchtaich, 2007. "First and second best voting rules in committees," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 29(3), pages 453-486, October.
    10. Ruth Ben-Yashar & Sarit Kraus, 2002. "Optimal collective dichotomous choice under quota constraints," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 19(4), pages 839-852.
    11. Eyal Baharad & Shmuel Nitzan, 2007. "Scoring rules: an alternative parameterization," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 30(1), pages 187-190, January.
    12. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Rosenthal, Howard, 1985. "Voter Participation and Strategic Uncertainty," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 62-78, March.
    13. Colin M. Campbell, 1999. "Large Electorates and Decisive Minorities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1199-1217, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ruth Ben-Yashar & Leif Danziger, 2014. "On the optimal composition of committees," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 43(4), pages 973-980, December.
    2. Ruth Ben-Yashar & Shmuel Nitzan, 2017. "Is diversity in capabilities desirable when adding decision makers?," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 82(3), pages 395-402, March.
    3. Eyal Baharad & Ruth Ben-Yashar, 2021. "Judgment Aggregation by a Boundedly Rational Decision-Maker," Group Decision and Negotiation, Springer, vol. 30(4), pages 903-914, August.
    4. Ruth Ben-Yashar & Leif Danziger, 2015. "When is voting optimal?," Economic Theory Bulletin, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 3(2), pages 341-356, October.
    5. Takuya Sekiguchi, 2016. "Optimal group composition for efficient division of labor," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 81(4), pages 601-618, November.
    6. BEN-YASHAR, Ruth & NITZAN, Shmuel, 2016. "Is Diversity in Capabilities Desirable When Adding Decision Makers?," Discussion paper series HIAS-E-21, Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University.
    7. Ben-Yashar, Ruth & Danziger, Leif, 2016. "The unanimity rule and extremely asymmetric committees," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 107-112.
    8. Ruth Ben-Yashar & Shmuel Nitzan, 2017. "Are two better than one? A note," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 171(3), pages 323-329, June.
    9. Baharad, Eyal & Ben-Yashar, Ruth & Patal, Tal, 2020. "On the merit of non-specialization in the context of majority voting," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 128-133.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    committees; collective decision making; simple majority rule;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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