Experimental Economics

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 209–222 | Cite as

Barking up the right tree: Are small groups rational agents?

  • James C. Cox
  • Stephen C. Hayne


Both mainstream economics and its critics have focused on models of individual rational agents even though most important decisions are made by small groups. Little systematic work has been done to study the behavior of small groups as decision-making agents in markets and other strategic games. This may limit the relevance of both economics and its critics to the objective of developing an understanding of how most important decisions are made. In order to gain some insight into this issue, this paper compares group and individual economic behavior. The objective of the research is to learn whether there are systematic differences between decisions made by groups and individual agents in market environments characterized by risky outcomes. A quantitative measure of deviation from minimally-rational decisions is used to compare group and individual behavior in common value auctions.


Rationality Groups Auctions Experiments 


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Copyright information

© Economic Science Association 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Experimental Economics CenterGeorgia State UniversityAtlanta
  2. 2.Department of Computer Information SystemsColorado State UniversityFort Collins

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