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How Individual Preferences Get Aggregated in Groups - an Experimental Study

  • Attila Ambrus
  • Ben Greiner
  • Parag Pathak

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.

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Paper provided by Duke University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 13-21.

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Length: 37
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:13-21
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Department of Economics Duke University 213 Social Sciences Building Box 90097 Durham, NC 27708-0097

Phone: (919) 660-1800
Fax: (919) 684-8974
Web page: http://econ.duke.edu/

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