American Economic Review: Vol. 97 No. 5 (December 2007)
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Consensus Building: How to Persuade a Group
Caillaud, Bernard, and Jean Tirole. 2007. "Consensus Building: How to Persuade a Group." American Economic Review, 97(5): 1877-1900.
The paper explores strategies that the sponsor of a proposal may employ to convince a qualified majority of members in a group to approve the proposal. Adopting a mechanism design approach to communication, it emphasizes the need to distill information selectively to key group members and to engineer persuasion cascades in which members who are brought on board sway the opinion of others. The paper shows that higher congruence among group members benefits the sponsor. The extent of congruence between the group and the sponsor, and the size and the governance of the group, are also shown to condition the sponsor's ability to get his project approved. (JEL D71, D72, D83)
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