Can Words Get in the Way? The Effect of Deliberation in Collective Decision-Making
70 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2016 Last revised: 15 Jan 2018
Date Written: June 7, 2015
We quantify the effect of pre-vote deliberation on the decisions of US appellate courts. We estimate a model of strategic voting with incomplete information in which judges communicate before casting their votes, and then compare the probability of mistakes in the court with deliberation with a counterfactual of no pre-vote communication. The model has multiple equilibria, and judges’ preferences and information parameters are only partially identified. We find that there is a range of parameters in the identified set in which deliberation can be beneficial. Specifically, deliberation lowers the incidence of incorrect decisions when judges tend to disagree ex ante or their private information is relatively imprecise; otherwise, it tends to reduce the effectiveness of the court.
Keywords: voting, courts, communication, partial identification
JEL Classification: D72, C35, D82
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation