Interests, Information and Minority Influence in Deliberation

Good paper [PDF] by Daniel Myers (University of Michigan)

Interests, Information and Minority Influence in Deliberation

Daniel Myers (2012)

Abstract:

The ability of citizens to share information is essential to the success of deliberative institutions. This paper builds on game-theoretic models of strategic information transmission to offer a theory of how the interests that deliberators have in the outcome of deliberation can cause some citizens to be unable to share information or influence the deliberative process. Specifically, this paper argues that whether a person is able to share information depends on whether that person is in the majority or the minority in terms of their interest in the outcome of deliberation. Deliberating groups will discount information that is provided by members of the minority, even when this information is an important contribution to deliberation. I offer the first empirical test of this kind of model in realistic deliberative conditions using two experiments, a laboratory experiment and a field experiment, and find that arguments that are made by members of the minority are less influential than the same arguments when they are made by members of the majority. The paper concludes by discussing the implications of these findings for the equality and epistemic quality of deliberative institutions.

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