Deliberation, Leadership and Information Aggregation
We analyse committees of voters who take a decision between two options as a two- stage process. In a discussion stage, voters share non-verifiable information about a private signal concerning what is the best option. In a voting stage, votes are cast and one of the options is implemented. We introduce the possibility of leadership whereby a certain voter, the leader, is more influential than the rest at the discussion stage even though she is not better informed. We study information transmission and characterize the effects of the leader on the deliberation process. We find, amongst others, that both the quality of the decision taken by the committee and how truthful voters are at the discussion stage depends non-monotonically on how influential the leader is. In particular, although a leader whose influence is weak does not disrupt the decision process of the committee in any way, a very influential leader is less disruptive than a moderately influential leader.
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