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Why a Group Needs a Leader: Decision-making and Debate in Committees

Wouter Dessein ()

No 6168, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: I develop a model of group decision-making, in which a committee generates proposals and holds open discussions, but the ultimate decision is either taken by a leader (decision by authority) or by majority vote. Optimal communication processes are studied that combine both cheap talk statements (proposals) and costly state verification (discussions). I show that by favouring one particular agent ? the leader ? authoritative decision-making reduces rent-seeking discussions and often results in a higher decision-quality relative to majority decision-making. Institutions which guarantee a "right to voice" by separating the roles of decision maker and discussion leader may further improve efficiency.

Keywords: Authority; Committees; Debate; Group decision-making; Leadership; Majority rule (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D71 D72 D82 D83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2007-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-pol
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (6) Track citations by RSS feed

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