Mechanism Design with Public Goods: Committee Karate, Cooperative Games, and the Control of Social Decisions through Subcommittees

California Institute of Technology Social Science Working Paper No. 1389

49 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2014 Last revised: 1 Jun 2015

See all articles by Charles R. Plott

Charles R. Plott

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Brian Merlob

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Date Written: October 1, 2014

Abstract

The paper explores organizations designed to influence a group to choose specific alternatives from a set of possible choices. The perspective is that of an administrator that has personal objectives not shared by the group and can dictate organization but not group choice. The design works through subcommittees. The variables used to manipulate the group choice are the assignment of members to the subcommittees, the assignment of alternatives for subcommittee consideration (the committee charge or jurisdiction) and the rules followed during subcommittee deliberations. The model uses social choice theory and the core of game derived from cooperative games without side payments (in effectiveness form) as the principles that determine committee choices. Experiments demonstrate that for a fixed profile of individual preferences the organizational variables can be used to structure the game such that almost any alternative is a member of the core. The resulting model is a very accurate predictor of the group choice.

Keywords: design, cooperative games, manipulation, committees, experimental economics, experimental political science

JEL Classification: C7, C9, D7, H4, l2

Suggested Citation

Plott, Charles R. and Merlob, Brian, Mechanism Design with Public Goods: Committee Karate, Cooperative Games, and the Control of Social Decisions through Subcommittees (October 1, 2014). California Institute of Technology Social Science Working Paper No. 1389, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2461356 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2461356

Charles R. Plott (Contact Author)

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences ( email )

1200 East California Blvd.
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626-395-4209 (Phone)

Brian Merlob

California Institute of Technology - Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences

1200 East California Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91125
United States

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