Discussion Papers, Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research 188 [rev.]
Economic small group research points to groups as more rational decision-makers in numerous economic situations. However, no attempts have been made to investigate whether groups are affected similarly by behavioral biases that are pervasive for individuals. If groups were also able to more effectively avoid these biases, the relevance of biases in actual economic contexts dominated by group decision-making might be questioned. We consider the case of anchoring as a prime example of a well-established, robust bias. Individual and group biasedness in three economically relevant domains are compared: factual knowledge, probability estimates and price valuations. In contrast to previous anchoring studies, we find groups to successfully reduce, albeit not eliminate, anchoring in the factual knowledge domain. For the other two domains, groups and individuals are equally biased by external anchors. Group cooperation thus reduces biases for predominantly intellective tasks only, while no such reduction is achieved when judgmental aspects are involved.
anchoring bias group decision-making heuristics and biases incentives laboratory experiment