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How Individual Preferences are Aggregated in Groups: An Experimental Study

Author

Listed:
  • Attila Ambrus

    (Department of Economics, Duke University)

  • Ben Greiner

    (School of Economics, Australian School of Business, the University of New South Wales)

  • Parag A. Pathak

    (Department of Economics, MIT)

Abstract

This paper experimentally investigates how individual preferences, through unrestricted deliberation, are 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 the median is not the only influential group member. 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. These results are consistent with predictions from a spatial model of dynamic bargaining determining group choices. We also find that group deliberation involves bargaining and compromise as well as persuasion: preferences tend to shift towards the choice of the individual’s previous group, especially for those with extreme individual preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Attila Ambrus & Ben Greiner & Parag A. Pathak, 2014. "How Individual Preferences are Aggregated in Groups: An Experimental Study," Discussion Papers 2014-30, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  • Handle: RePEc:swe:wpaper:2014-30
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    3. Christoph Engel & Alexandra Fedorets & Olga Gorelkina, 2018. "How Do Households Allocate Risk?," Working Papers 20186, University of Liverpool, Department of Economics.
    4. Yoshio Kamijo & Teruyuki Tamura, 2019. "Risk-averse and self-interested shifts in groups in both median and random rules," Working Papers SDES-2019-3, Kochi University of Technology, School of Economics and Management, revised Apr 2019.
    5. Matthaei, Eva Kristina & Kiesewetter, Dirk, 2020. "A problem shared is a problem halved? Risky tax avoidance decisions and intra-group payoff conflict," arqus Discussion Papers in Quantitative Tax Research 258, arqus - Arbeitskreis Quantitative Steuerlehre.
    6. Marco Castillo & Greg Leo & Ragan Petrie, 2020. "Room composition effects on risk taking by gender," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(3), pages 895-911, September.
    7. Chen, Daniel L. & Michaeli, Moti & Spiro, Daniel, 2020. "Legitimizing Policy," TSE Working Papers 20-1123, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).
    8. Timilsina, Raja R & Kotani, Koji & Nakagawa, Yoshinori & Saijo, Tatsuyoshi, 2021. "Concerns for future generations in societies: A deliberative analysis of the intergenerational sustainability dilemma," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    9. Christoph Engel & Alexandra Fedorets & Olga Gorelkina, 2018. "How Do Households Allocate Risk?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1000, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    10. Friederike Mengel, 2021. "Gender Bias In Opinion Aggregation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 62(3), pages 1055-1080, August.
    11. Yayan Hernuryadin & Koji Kotani & Yoshio Kamijo, 2019. "Time Preferences between Individuals and Groups in the Transition from Hunter-Gatherer to Industrial Societies," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(2), pages 1-21, January.
    12. Morone, Andrea & Caferra, Rocco, 2019. "Individual and social preferences under risk: laboratory evidence on the group size effect," MPRA Paper 92856, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Lima de Miranda, Katharina & Detlefsen, Lena & Schmidt, Ulrich, 2019. "Can gender quotas prevent risky choice shifts? The effect of gender composition on group decisions under risk," Kiel Working Papers 2135, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    14. Chen, Daniel L. & Michaeli, Moti & Spiro, Daniel, 2016. "Ideological Perfectionism," IAST Working Papers 16-47, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    15. Morone, Andrea & Temerario, Tiziana, 2016. "Preferences over social risk: does (group) size matter?," EconStor Preprints 147413, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics.
    16. Andrea Morone & Francesco Nemore & Tiziana Temerario, 2017. "Individual and group preferences over risk: Does group size matter?," EERI Research Paper Series EERI RP 2017/12, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    group decision-making; role of deliberation; social influence;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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