Johanna Mollerstrom & Cass R. Sunstein, How Special is Democracy?: An Experimental Study of Recommendations in the Minimum Effort Game, 190 Econ. Letters (2020).
Abstract: Democratic institutions aggregate voters’ preferences about policy options and thereby help determine which policies are implemented. Previous research has, however, suggested that such institutions can also have a direct, positive effect on cooperative and efficient behavior. In a laboratory experiment, we test this suggestion by comparing the effect of recommendations on how to play that are generated through a group vote to expert-generated recommendations, on play in a minimum effort game. We find no difference between the two: both expert recommendations and democratically generated recommendations increase the efficiency of choices. In addition, we find that merely considering potential recommendations, and knowing that others have done so as well, can help enhance efficient coordination.