Making Talk Cheap (and Problems Easy): How Legal and Political Institutions Can Facilitate Consensus
University of California, Davis
Mathew D. McCubbins
University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business, Gould School of Law and the Department of Political Science
Daniel B. Rodriguez
Northwestern University - School of Law
University of Southern California - Department of Political Science; University of Southern California - School of International Relations
November 18, 2010
Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 7, Issue 4, pp. 868-885, 2010
In many 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. In this article, we present a theory and 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 sending information to others 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: 18Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 3, 2011
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