Theory and Decision

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 267-286

First online:

Committee Decisions with Partisans and Side-Transfers

  • Mehmet BacAffiliated withFaculty of Arts and Sciences, Sabanci University
  • , Parimal Kanti BagAffiliated withDepartment of Economics and Finance, Birkbeck College, University of London

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A dichotomous decision-making context in committees is considered where potential partisan members with predetermined votes can generate inefficient decisions and buy neutral votes. The optimal voting rule minimizing the expected costs of inefficient decisions for the case of a three-member committee is analyzed. It is shown that the optimal voting rule can be non-monotonic with respect to side-transfers: in the symmetric case, majority voting is optimal under either zero, mild or full side-transfer possibilities, whereas unanimity voting may be optimal under an intermediate side-transfer possibility. The side-transfer possibilities depend on the power of partisans (their ability or willingness to pay for neutral votes) relative to the corruptibility of neutral members (personal cost of deliberately casting a `wrong' vote).

Committee Partisan voting Vote buying Majority rule Unanimity rule