Social pressure, transparency, and voting in committees Articles uri icon

publication date

  • November 2019

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 45

volume

  • 184

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-0531

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-7235

abstract

  • We examine the consequences of vote transparency in committees whose members fear being blamed by interested observers for casting an unfavorable vote. We show that while individually undesirable, such social pressure can improve the collective decision by mitigating a voting externality. Hence, organizations may adopt public voting when the fear of blame is too little, and secret voting when the fear is too much. We also show that public voting is particularly desirable in committees with overly biased members or overly biased voting rules against the alternative. Anecdotal evidence supports our findings.

keywords

  • blame; committee; social pressure; transparency