How Voting Protocols Shape Committee Discussions and Outcomes: New Product Evaluations at the FDA

44 Pages Posted: 1 May 2023 Last revised: 9 Nov 2023

See all articles by Panos Markou

Panos Markou

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Tian Heong Chan

Emory University - Goizueta Business School

Date Written: November 7, 2023

Abstract

Complex and important policy decisions are often made with advice from a committee of experts. But how do a committee's "rules of engagement" affect the way individuals discuss, how they vote, and ultimately the quality of their collective recommendation? Compiling transcripts from US Food and Drug Administration Advisory Committee meetings, we study how a 2007 switch from sequential to simultaneous voting procedures changed committee discussions, information exchange, and decision making. The results show that (in comparison with a sequential voting protocol) simultaneous voting led to a reduction in the likelihood of unanimous votes; broader discussions; committee members adopting language that was more positive, authentic, and equal in projecting status and confidence; and recommendations that were more likely to be accurate, since drugs recommended via simultaneous voting were less likely to be later withdrawn from the market. In sum, we show that changes in the voting protocol can lead to marked improvements in how information is elicited from and exchanged between individuals, as well as in the process by which groups of experts arrive at a joint recommendation.

Keywords: committees, project selection, project evaluation, innovation, FDA, pharmaceutical

Suggested Citation

Markou, Panos and Chan, Tian Heong, How Voting Protocols Shape Committee Discussions and Outcomes: New Product Evaluations at the FDA (November 7, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4433822 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4433822

Panos Markou (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Tian Heong Chan

Emory University - Goizueta Business School ( email )

1300 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322-2722
United States

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