Title: Does Majority Rule Produce Hasty Decisions?
Reference Number: 1202
Publication Date: September 2012
JEL Classifcation: D71, D72, D83

Jimmy Chan
Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

Wing Suen
The University of Hong Kong

In collective decision-making, impatient or low-stake voters are attractive allies if some group members want to stop deliberations to decide for their favored alternative. Competition for their votes can lead to hasty outcomes through strategic complementarity in the stopping decision. Majority rule is not robust in that one very impatient agent can cause the whole group to rush to a decision. This can be avoided by super-majority rule. Moreover the impacts of impatient voters and patient voters are not symmetric: one extremely patient agent will not cause the group to deliberate without end under super-majority rule unless unanimity is required.

Key words: sequential probability ratio test, optimal stopping, swing voters, collective learning

Last modified: 11/14/2012