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A Policy-Based Rationalization of Collective Rules: Dimensionality, Specialized Houses, and Decentralized Authority

Guemmegne, Juliette and Pongou, Roland (2013): A Policy-Based Rationalization of Collective Rules: Dimensionality, Specialized Houses, and Decentralized Authority.

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Abstract

We offer a policy basis for interpreting, justifying, and designing (3,3)-political rules, a large class of collective rules analogous to those governing the selection of papers in peer-reviewed journals, where each referee chooses to accept, reject, or invite a resubmission of a paper, and an editor aggregates his own and referees' opinions into one of these three recommendations. We prove that any such rule is a weighted multicameral rule: a policy is collectively approved at a given level if and only if it is approved by a minimal number of chambers- the dimension of the rule-, where each chamber evaluates a different aspect of the policy using a weighted rule, with each evaluator's weight or authority possibly varying across chambers depending on his area(s) of expertise. Conversely, it is always possible to design a rule under which a policy is collectively approved at a given level if and only if it meets a certain number of predefined criteria, so that one can set the standards for policies first, and then design the rules that justify the passage of policies meeting those standards. These results imply that a given rule is only suitable for evaluating finite-dimensional policies whose dimension corresponds to that of the rule, and they provide a rationale for using different rules to pass different policies even within the same organization. We further introduce the concept of compatibility with a rule, and use it to propose a method to construct integer weights corresponding to evaluators' possible judgments under a given rule, which are more intuitive and easier to interpret for policymakers. Our findings shed light on multicameralism in political institutions and multi-criteria group decision-making in the firm. We provide applications to peer review politics, rating systems, and real-world organizations.

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