Are Two Heads Better than One?: An Experimental Analysis of Group vs. Individual Decisionmaking

49 Pages Posted: 16 Sep 2000 Last revised: 19 Oct 2010

See all articles by Alan S. Blinder

Alan S. Blinder

Princeton University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

John Morgan

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group

Date Written: September 2000

Abstract

Two laboratory experiments - one a statistical urn problem, the other a monetary policy experiment - were run to test the commonly-believed hypothesis that groups make decisions more slowly than individuals do. Surprisingly, this turns out not to be true there is no significant difference in average decision lags. Furthermore, and also surprisingly, there is no significant difference in the decision lag when groups decisions are made by majority rule versus when they are made under a unanimity requirement. In addition, group decisions are on average superior to individual decisions. The results are strikingly similar across the two experiments.

Suggested Citation

Blinder, Alan S. and Morgan, John, Are Two Heads Better than One?: An Experimental Analysis of Group vs. Individual Decisionmaking (September 2000). NBER Working Paper No. w7909. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=242143

Alan S. Blinder (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

John Morgan

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-2669 (Phone)
810-885-5959 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/rjmorgan/

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