nep-cdm New Economics Papers
on Collective Decision-Making
Issue of 2023‒11‒06
three papers chosen by
Stan C. Weeber, McNeese State University

  1. Fairness and Inequality in Institution Formation By Detemple, Julian; Kosfeld, Michael
  2. Do groups fight more? Experimental evidence on conflict initiation By Changxia Ke; Florian Morath; Sophia Seelos
  3. Do Larger Committees make Better Majority Decisions with Costly Expert By Newman, Jonathan

  1. By: Detemple, Julian (Goethe University Frankfurt); Kosfeld, Michael (Goethe University Frankfurt)
    Abstract: A key solution for public good provision is the voluntary formation of institutions that commit players to cooperate. Such institutions generate inequality if some players decide not to participate but cannot be excluded from cooperation benefits. Prior research with small groups emphasizes the role of fairness concerns with positive effects on cooperation. We show that effects do not generalize to larger groups: if group size increases, groups are less willing to form institutions generating inequality. In contrast to smaller groups, however, this does not increase the number of participating players, thereby limiting the positive impact of institution formation on cooperation.
    Keywords: institution formation, group size, social dilemma, social preferences
    JEL: C92 D02 D63 H41
    Date: 2023–09
  2. By: Changxia Ke; Florian Morath; Sophia Seelos
    Abstract: This paper investigates whether distributional conflicts become more likely when groups are involved in the fight. We present results from a laboratory experiment in which two parties can appropriate resources via a contest or, alternatively, take an outside option. Keeping monetary gains expected from fighting constant across all treatments, the experiment compares conflict choices of players in two-against-two, one-against-one, and two-against-one settings. Overall, we find evidence for a higher propensity to opt for conflict when entering the fight in a group than when having to fight as a single player. The effects are strongest in endogenously maintained groups and in the presence of group size advantages (i.e., in two-against-one). The results can be explained by a stronger non-monetary utility from fighting in (endogenous) groups and coincide with a biased perception of the fighting strength in asymmetric conflict.
    Keywords: Conflict, contest, conflict resolution, group decision-making, group identity, alliance, experiment
    JEL: C92 D70 D72 D74 D91
    Date: 2023
  3. By: Newman, Jonathan (University of Warwick)
    Abstract: I present a two-stage model of committee voting with costly expert information. For every member of the committee to observe and synthesise independent testimony of some fixed and known quality, a majority of the agents must contribute to its acquisition. When testimony is observed with positive probability, I show that adding agents to the committee depresses the probability with which any single agent contributes - due to free-riding - and demonstrate how, with some careful assumptions, the probability of reaching the correct decision should correspondingly fall with the committee size. Moreover, I show individuals will make more accurate decisions than all groups whose aggregated signals are, collectively, inferior to the expert testimony. In keeping with Mukhopadhayas (2003) seminal work on the acquisition of private signals, these findings argue against arbitrarily enlarging committees to improve the quality of majority decisions but instead propose the dichotomous choice between individual decision-makers, and collectives whose aggregated signals are more accurate than the expert signal. Further research might permit agents to choose the amount of information they acquire, or model both private and expert information as costly
    Keywords: Information Aggregation ; Public Goods Game JEL classifications: C72 ; D72
    Date: 2023

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