How Individual Preferences Get Aggregated in Groups - An Experimental Study

37 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2013

See all articles by Attila Ambrus

Attila Ambrus

Duke University - Department of Economics

Ben Greiner

Vienna University of Economics and Business

Parag A. Pathak

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: September 19, 2013

Abstract

This paper experimentally investigates how individual preferences, through unrestricted deliberation, get aggregated into a group decision in two contexts: reciprocating gifts, and choosing between lotteries. In both contexts we find that median group members have a significant impact on the group decision, but particular other members also have some influence. Non-median members closer to the median tend to have more influence than other members. By investigating the same individual’s influence in different groups, we find evidence for relative position in the group having a direct effect on influence. We do not find evidence that group choice exhibits a shift in a particular direction that is independent of member preferences and caused by the group decision context itself. We also find that group deliberation not only involves bargaining and compromise, but it also involves persuasion: preferences tend to shift towards the choice of the individual’s previous group, especially for those with extreme individual preferences.

Keywords: group decision-making, role of deliberation, social influence

JEL Classification: C72, C92, H41

Suggested Citation

Ambrus, Attila and Greiner, Ben and Pathak, Parag A., How Individual Preferences Get Aggregated in Groups - An Experimental Study (September 19, 2013). Economic Research Initiatives at Duke (ERID) Working Paper No. 158. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2331612

Attila Ambrus (Contact Author)

Duke University - Department of Economics ( email )

100 Fuqua Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Ben Greiner

Vienna University of Economics and Business

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, Wien 1020
Austria

Parag A. Pathak

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
E52-391
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

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