Why a Group Needs a Leader: DecisionMaking and Debate in Committees

59 Pages Posted: 20 May 2008

See all articles by Wouter Dessein

Wouter Dessein

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business

Date Written: March 2007

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

JEL Classification: D71, D72, D82, D83

Suggested Citation

Dessein, Wouter, Why a Group Needs a Leader: DecisionMaking and Debate in Committees (March 2007). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP6168, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1133812

Wouter Dessein (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Booth School of Business ( email )

5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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