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Group Decision-Making in the Shadow of Disagreement


  • Debraj Ray

    (Department of Economics, New York University and Instituto de Análisis Económico (CSIC))

  • Kfir Eliaz

    (Department of Economics, New York University)

  • Ronny Razin

    (Department of Economics, New York University)


A model of group decision-making is studied, in which one of two alternatives must be chosen. While group members differ in their valuations of the alternatives, everybody prefers some alternative to disagreement. Our model is distinguished by three features: private information regarding valuations, varying intensities in the preference for one out-come over the other, and the option to declare neutrality in order to avoid disagreement. We uncover a variant on the “tyranny of the majority": there is always an equilibrium in which the majority is more aggressive in pushing its alternative, thus enforcing their will via both numbers and voice. However, under very general conditions an aggressive minority equilibrium inevitably makes an appearance, provided that the group is large enough. This equilibrium displays a “tyranny of the minority": it is always true that the increased aggression of the minority more than compensates for smaller number, leading to the minority outcome being implemented with larger probability than the majority alternative. In all cases the option to remain neutral ensures that the probability of disagreement is bounded away from one (as group size changes), regardless of the supermajority value needed for agreement, as long as it is not unanimity.

Suggested Citation

  • Debraj Ray & Kfir Eliaz & Ronny Razin, 2004. "Group Decision-Making in the Shadow of Disagreement," Working Papers 2004.83, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2004.83

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rafael Hortala-Vallve, 2010. "Inefficiencies on linking decisions," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 34(3), pages 471-486, March.
    2. de Groot Ruiz, Adrian & Ramer, Roald & Schram, Arthur, 2016. "Formal versus informal legislative bargaining," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 1-17.
    3. Ekmekci, Mehmet, 2009. "Manipulation through political endorsements," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 1227-1248, May.
    4. Matsushima, Hitoshi & Miyazaki, Koichi & Yagi, Nobuyuki, 2010. "Role of linking mechanisms in multitask agency with hidden information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(6), pages 2241-2259, November.
    5. repec:pit:wpaper:499 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Collective decision-making; Groups; Disagreements; Decision rules;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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