American Economic Review: Vol. 91 No. 5 (December 2001)


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Conflicts and Common Interests in Committees

Article Citation

Li, Hao, Sherwin Rosen, and Wing Suen. 2001. "Conflicts and Common Interests in Committees." American Economic Review, 91(5): 1478-1497.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.91.5.1478


Committees improve decisions by pooling members' independent information, but promote manipulation, obfuscation, and exaggeration of private information when members have conflicting preferences. Committee decision procedures transform continuous data into ordered ranks through voting. This coarsens the transmission of information, but controls strategic manipulations and allows some degree of information sharing. Each member becomes more cautious in casting the crucial vote than when he alone makes the decision based on own information. Increased quality of one member's information results in his casting the crucial vote more often. Committees make better decisions for members than does delegation.

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Li, Hao (U Toronto)
Rosen, Sherwin (Unlisted)
Suen, Wing (U Hong Kong)

JEL Classifications

D71: Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations

American Economic Review

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