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American Economic Review: Vol. 97 No. 1 (March 2007)

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Decision Making in Committees: Transparency, Reputation, and Voting Rules

Article Citation

Levy, Gilat. 2007. "Decision Making in Committees: Transparency, Reputation, and Voting Rules." American Economic Review, 97(1): 150-168.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.97.1.150

Abstract

In this paper I analyze the effect of transparency on decision making in committees. I focus on committees whose members are motivated by career concerns. The main result is that when the decision-making process is secretive (when individual votes are not revealed to the public), committee members comply with preexisting biases. For example, if the voting rule demands a supermajority to accept a reform, individuals vote more often against reforms. Transparent committees are therefore more likely to accept reforms. I also find that coupled with the right voting rule, a secretive procedure may induce better decisions than a transparent one. (JEL D71, D72)

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Levy, Gilat


American Economic Review


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