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How transparency kills information aggregation: theory and experiment


Fehrler, Sebastian; Hughes, Niall (2018). How transparency kills information aggregation: theory and experiment. American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 10(1):181-209.

Abstract

We investigate the potential of transparency to influence committee decision-making. We present a model in which career concerned committee members receive private information of different type-dependent accuracy, deliberate, and vote. We study three levels of transparency under which career concerns are predicted to affect behavior differently and test the model's key predictions in a laboratory experiment. The model's predictions are largely borne out—transparency negatively affects information aggregation at the deliberation and voting stages, leading to sharply different committee error rates than under secrecy. This occurs despite subjects revealing more information under transparency than theory predicts.

Abstract

We investigate the potential of transparency to influence committee decision-making. We present a model in which career concerned committee members receive private information of different type-dependent accuracy, deliberate, and vote. We study three levels of transparency under which career concerns are predicted to affect behavior differently and test the model's key predictions in a laboratory experiment. The model's predictions are largely borne out—transparency negatively affects information aggregation at the deliberation and voting stages, leading to sharply different committee error rates than under secrecy. This occurs despite subjects revealing more information under transparency than theory predicts.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
Uncontrolled Keywords:JEL C92, D72, D82, D83
Language:English
Date:February 2018
Deposited On:22 Nov 2018 11:29
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 08:07
Publisher:American Economic Association
ISSN:1945-7669
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1257/mic.20160046

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