IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Simple Solution for a Group Choosing a Restaurant


  • Tim Groseclose
  • Jeffrey Milyo


Perhaps the common social choice problem that any of us face in practice is when we find ourselves in a group that must choose one restaurant at which all of us will eat. We propose a method where, similar to the I-choose-you-cut rule for dividing a cake, individuals in the group take turns restricting the set of choices for the group. Specifically, under our method the first person restricts the set of restaurants to a certain number the second person restricts the set to a smaller number and so on until the last person in the group selects one restaurant. We derive a formula for choosing these numbers such that — under a natural assumption about individual preferences - the probability that the group will choose any individual’s favorite restaurant is equal for each individual. For the case where there are only two people in the group and there are n restaurants, under our method the first person selects the square root of n restaurants. The second person then chooses one restaurant from this set. When there are k individuals, our method requires the first person to select n(k-1)/k restaurants. From this set the second person selects n(k-2)/k restaurants, and so on, until the final person selects one restaurant.

Suggested Citation

  • Tim Groseclose & Jeffrey Milyo, 2004. "A Simple Solution for a Group Choosing a Restaurant," Working Papers 0409, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0409

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gurumurthy Kalyanaram & William T. Robinson & Glen L. Urban, 1995. "Order of Market Entry: Established Empirical Generalizations, Emerging Empirical Generalizations, and Future Research," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(3_supplem), pages 212-221.
    2. Christensen, Laurits R & Jorgenson, Dale W & Lau, Lawrence J, 1975. "Transcendental Logarithmic Utility Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 367-383, June.
    3. Uncles, Mark D. & Ehrenberg, Andrew S. C. & Goodhardt, Gerald J., 2004. "Reply to commentary on "Understanding brand performance measures: using Dirichlet benchmarks"," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 57(12), pages 1329-1330, December.
    4. Benoit Mandelbrot, 1963. "New Methods in Statistical Economics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 71, pages 421-421.
    5. Chung, Kee H & Cox, Raymond A K, 1994. "A Stochastic Model of Superstardom: An Application of the Yule Distribution," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(4), pages 771-775, November.
    6. Peter M. Guadagni & John D. C. Little, 1983. "A Logit Model of Brand Choice Calibrated on Scanner Data," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 2(3), pages 203-238.
    7. Brock, W A, 1999. "Scaling in Economics: A Reader's Guide," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 409-446, September.
    8. Ehrenberg, Andrew S. C. & Uncles, Mark D. & Goodhardt, Gerald J., 2004. "Understanding brand performance measures: using Dirichlet benchmarks," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 57(12), pages 1307-1325, December.
    9. Frank M. Bass, 1995. "Empirical Generalizations and Marketing Science: A Personal View," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 14(3_supplem), pages 6-19.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    social choice problem; solution;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:har:wpaper:0409. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Eleanor Cartelli). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.