How are group decisions actually made? How can conflicting interests be reconciled, dispersed information shared, and suitable incentives created, to achieve group cooperation and the optimum outcome?  If people in groups were to follow certain rules of behaviour, could this help us to understand bubbles in financial markets, manias and panics?

If you would like to research group decision-making problems, or if your organisation or community would appreciate some insights that could help in resolve collective action problems, contact the cluster leader Dr Ashley Piggins.

Key Research Questions

The cluster brings together experts from economics, politics, philosophy, psychology and mathematics, who try to find ways of overcoming the problem identified by Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem i.e. all systems for collective decision-making are flawed.


Some of the research concerns in this cluster include:

  1. Analysing voting data.
  2. Scrutinising electoral systems.
  3. Assessing the value, to society, of things that can’t be bought in a market e.g. public parks, clean air, and a good climate.

One such project is the US Electoral College Conundrum, which in 2000 led to Republican George W. Bush taking the White House even though he got fewer popular votes than his Democratic Party rival Al Gore. Another problem with the Electoral College, which could arise if the House of Representatives was increased in size, is that the wrong candidate could be elected even though nobody changed their vote!