In many legal, political, and social settings, people must reach a consensus before particular outcomes can be achieved and failing to reach a consensus may be costly. In this article, we present a theory and conduct experiments that take into account the costs associated with communicating, as well as the difﬁculty of the decisions that groups make. We ﬁnd that when there is even a small cost (relative to the potential beneﬁt) associated with sending information to others and/or listening, groups are much less likely to reach a consensus, primarily because they are less willing to communicate with one another. We also ﬁnd that difﬁcult problems signiﬁcantly reduce group members’ willingness to communicate with one another and, therefore, hinder their ability to reach a consensus.
Cheryl Boudreau et al., Making Talk Cheap (and Problems Easy): How Legal and Political Institutions Can Facilitate Consensus, 7 Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 868-885 (2010)
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Communication, Consensus (Social sciences), Decision making