Majoritarian Democracy Undermines Truth-Finding in Deliberative Committees

Research & Politics May 2015, 2 (2) DOI: 10.1177/2053168015582287

19 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2013 Last revised: 15 Jun 2015

See all articles by Jan Lorenz

Jan Lorenz

Jacobs University Bremen

Heiko Rauhut

University of Zurich

Bernhard Kittel

University of Vienna Department of Economic Sociology

Date Written: December 5, 2013

Abstract

The median of independent judgments usually outperforms most individual estimates of vaguely known facts. This wisdom-of-crowd phenomenon emerges from largely dispersed individual estimates whose aggregate is typically less biased than the average individual. Since democracy is to aggregate people's diverse preferences and judgments, it is crucial to identify voting rules promoting the wisdom of crowds. While the median voter theorem favors the majority rule, the theory of deliberative democracy highlights the importance of opinion exchange and revision of judgments. We show experimentally, however, that a combination of majority rule and deliberation worsens collective judgments compared to deliberation under unanimity or no decision rule even without conflicting interests among discussants. Thus, the truth-finding competence of committees is significantly weakened by the majority rule.

Keywords: collective judgment, experimental political science, voting, deliberation

JEL Classification: C92, D70

Suggested Citation

Lorenz, Jan and Rauhut, Heiko and Kittel, Bernhard, Majoritarian Democracy Undermines Truth-Finding in Deliberative Committees (December 5, 2013). Research & Politics May 2015, 2 (2) DOI: 10.1177/2053168015582287. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2364037 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2364037

Jan Lorenz (Contact Author)

Jacobs University Bremen ( email )

Campus Ring 1
Bremen, 28759
Germany

Heiko Rauhut

University of Zurich ( email )

Andreasstrasse 15
8050 Zurich, CH-8050
Switzerland
+41 44 635 23 54 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.suz.uzh.ch/rauhut.html

Bernhard Kittel

University of Vienna Department of Economic Sociology ( email )

Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1
Vienna, 1090
Austria

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