Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1434121
 
 

References (24)



 


 



Opting in or Opting Out: The Conditions for Developing Consensus


Cheryl Boudreau


University of California, Davis

Mathew D. McCubbins


Duke University

Daniel B. Rodriguez


Northwestern University - School of Law

Nicholas Weller


University of Southern California - Department of Political Science; University of Southern California - School of International Relations

November 13, 2009

CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper

Abstract:     
In legal, political, and social settings, people must reach a consensus before particular outcomes can be achieved and failing to reach a consensus may be costly. Although many scholars identify conditions that make consensus more or less likely, they typically ignore key features of communication that may affect a group’s ability to reach a consensus. In this paper, we conduct experiments that take into account the costs associated with communicating, as well as the difficulty of the decisions that groups make. We find that when there is even a small cost (relative to the potential benefit) associated with speaking and/or listening, groups are much less likely to reach a consensus, primarily because they are less willing to communicate with one another. We also find that difficult problems significantly reduce group members’ willingness to communicate with one another and, therefore, hinder their ability to reach a consensus.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

Keywords: consensus, experiments, political communication

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Date posted: July 16, 2009 ; Last revised: February 15, 2010

Suggested Citation

Boudreau, Cheryl and McCubbins, Mathew D. and Rodriguez, Daniel B. and Weller, Nicholas, Opting in or Opting Out: The Conditions for Developing Consensus (November 13, 2009). CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1434121 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1434121

Contact Information

Cheryl Boudreau
University of California, Davis ( email )
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States
Mathew D. McCubbins
Duke University ( email )
Department of Political Science
208 Gross Hall, 140 Science Drive
Durham, NC 277080204
United States
(213) 973-7538 (Phone)
(213) 973-3623 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://mccubbins.us
Daniel B. Rodriguez
Northwestern University - School of Law ( email )
375 E. Chicago Ave
Unit 1505
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
Nicholas Weller (Contact Author)
University of Southern California - Department of Political Science ( email )
Von KleinSmid Center, 327
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
University of Southern California - School of International Relations
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
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