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Sequential Aggregation of Verifiable Information

We introduce the notion of verifiable information into a model of sequential debate among experts who are motivated by career concerns. We show that self-censorship may hamper the efficiency of information aggregation, as experts withhold evidence contradicting the conventional wisdom. In this case, silence is telling and undermines the prevailing view over time if this view is incorrect. As a result, withholding arguments about the correct state of the world is only a temporary phenomenon, and the probability of the correct state of the world being revealed always converges to one as the group of experts becomes large. For small groups, a simple mechanism the principal can use to improve decisionmaking is to appoint a devil’s advocate.

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Paper provided by CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich in its series CER-ETH Economics working paper series with number 10/136.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:10-136
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  1. Wit, Jorgen, 1998. "Rational Choice and the Condorcet Jury Theorem," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 364-376, February.
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