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How Individual Preferences Get Aggregated in Groups - an Experimental Study

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  • Attila Ambrus
  • Ben Greiner
  • Parag Pathak

Abstract

This paper experimentally investigates how individual preferences, through unrestricted deliberation, get aggregated into a group decision in two contexts: reciprocating gifts, and choosing between lotteries. In both contexts we find that median group members have a significant impact on the group decision, but particular other members also have some influence. Non-median members closer to the median tend to have more influence than other members. By investigating the same individual’s influence in different groups, we find evidence for relative position in the group having a direct effect on influence. We do not find evidence that group choice exhibits a shift in a particular direction that is independent of member preferences and caused by the group decision context itself. We also find that group deliberation not only involves bargaining and compromise, but it also involves persuasion: preferences tend to shift towards the choice of the individual’s previous group, especially for those with extreme individual preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Attila Ambrus & Ben Greiner & Parag Pathak, 2013. "How Individual Preferences Get Aggregated in Groups - an Experimental Study," Working Papers 13-21, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:13-21
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Haoran He & Marie Claire Villeval, 2014. "Are teams less inequality averse than individuals?," Post-Print halshs-01077253, HAL.
    2. Timo Heinrich & Thomas Mayrhofer, 2014. "Higher-order Risk Preferences in Social Settings - An Experimental Analysis," Ruhr Economic Papers 0508, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    3. repec:zbw:rwirep:0508 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Haoran He & Marie Claire Villeval, 2014. "Are team members less inequality averse than individual decision makers?," Working Papers halshs-00996545, HAL.
    5. Heinrich, Timo & Mayrhofer, Thomas, 2014. "Higher-order Risk Preferences in Social Settings - An Experimental Analysis," Ruhr Economic Papers 508, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    group decision-making; role of deliberation; social influence;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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