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Consensus Building: How to Persuade a Group

  • Caillaud, Bernard
  • Tirole, Jean

Many decisions in private and public organizations are made by groups. The paper explores strategies that the sponsor of a proposal may employ to convince a qualified majority of group members to approve the proposal. Adopting a mechanism design approach to communication, it emphasizes the need to distill information selectively to key members of the group and to engineer persuasion cascades in which members who are brought on board sway the opinion of others. The paper unveils the factors, such as the extent of congruence among group members and between them and the sponsor, and the size and governance of the group, that condition the sponsor's ability to maneuver and get his project approved.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 435.

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Date of creation: Jan 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in American Economic Review, vol.�97, n°5, décembre 2007, p.�1877-1900.
Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:5969
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  1. Watson, Joel & Bull, Jesse, 2006. "Hard Evidence and Mechanism Design," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt7973v805, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  2. David Spector, 1999. "Rational debate and one-dimensional conflict," Working papers 99-09, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  3. Klaas J. Beniers, 2004. "On the Composition of Committees," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 353-378, October.
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