Journal of Economics

, Volume 111, Issue 1, pp 69–95 | Cite as

Voting in small committees

  • Paolo BalduzziEmail author
  • Clara Graziano
  • Annalisa Luporini


We analyze the voting behavior of a small committee that has to approve or reject a project proposal whose return is uncertain. Members have diverse preferences: some of them want to maximize the expected value, while others have a bias towards project approval and ignore their information on the project value. We focus on the most efficient use of scarce information when members cannot communicate prior to voting, and we provide insights on the optimal composition of the committee. Our main result is that the presence of biased members can improve the voting outcome, by simplifying the strategies of unbiased members. Thus, committees with diverse members perform as well as homogeneous committees, and even better in some cases. In particular, when value-maximizing members outnumber biased members by one vote, the optimal equilibrium becomes unique.


Voting Small committees Committees composition 

JEL Classification

D71 D72 



We thank two anonymous referees, Ferdinando Colombo, Luigi Vannucci, and Giulio Pianigiani for very helpful suggestions. We also thank participants at the ASSET Conference 2008, the CEPET Workshop 2009, the EALE Conference 2009, the CESifo Area Conference in applied Micro 2010 and at seminars held at Stony Brook University, Catholic University of Milan, University of Milan-Bicocca for comments on previous versions of the paper. All mistakes are the authors’ own responsibility. Financial help from IEF (Catholic University) and PRIN 2008 is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paolo Balduzzi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Clara Graziano
    • 2
  • Annalisa Luporini
    • 3
  1. 1.Catholic University of Milan, IEF and CIFRELMilanItaly
  2. 2.University of Udine and CESifoUdineItaly
  3. 3.University of Florence and CESifoFlorenceItaly

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