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The role of information in collective decisions


  • Nicolás Figueroa
  • José-Alberto Guerra
  • Francisco Silva


In this paper, we study collective information acquisition in groups that make decisions using majority rule. We argue both theoretically and experimentally that the median voter theorem does not apply; in general, the level of information acquired by the group is not equal to the level of information a median voter would like to acquire individually, despite agents having single peaked preferences over information. We find t hat g roups o veracquire o r underacquire information relative to what would have been predicted by the median voter theorem depending on the levels of disagreemnent among the group members both before and after information is acquired. We also discuss the impact of the failure of the median voter theorem on efficiency.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolás Figueroa & José-Alberto Guerra & Francisco Silva, 2022. "The role of information in collective decisions," Documentos CEDE 20508, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:020508

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pëllumb Reshidi & Alessandro Lizzeri & Leeat Yariv & Jimmy Chan & Wing Suen, 2021. "Individual and Collective Information Acquisition: An Experimental Study," CESifo Working Paper Series 9468, CESifo.
    2. Mak, Vincent & Rapoport, Amnon & Seale, Darryl A., 2014. "Sequential search by groups with rank-dependent payoffs: An experimental study," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 124(2), pages 256-267.
    3. Hizen, Yoichi & Kawata, Keisuke & Sasaki, Masaru, 2013. "An experimental test of a committee search model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 59-76.
    4. Vincent Anesi & T. Renee Bowen, 2021. "Policy Experimentation in Committees: A Case against Veto Rights under Redistributive Constraints," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 124-162, August.
    5. Oscar Becerra & José-Alberto Guerra, 2021. "Valuing personal safety and the gender earnings gap," Documentos CEDE 18900, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    6. Ginzburg, Boris, 2022. "Collective Learning and Distributive Uncertainty," MPRA Paper 112780, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Colin F. Camerer & Teck-Hua Ho & Juin-Kuan Chong, 2004. "A Cognitive Hierarchy Model of Games," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 119(3), pages 861-898.
    8. Louis, Philippos, 2015. "Learning aversion and voting rules in collective decision making," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 24-26.
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    More about this item


    collective learning; median voter theorem; laboratory experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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