Agenda-manipulation in ranking

We study the susceptibility of committee governance (e.g. by boards of directors), modelled as the collective determination of a ranking of a set of alternatives, to manipulation of the order in which pairs of alternatives are voted on—agenda-manipulation. We exhibit an agenda strategy called insertion sort that allows a self-interested committee chair with no knowledge of how votes will be cast to do as well as if she had complete knowledge. Strategies with this ‘regret-freeness’ property are characterised by their efficiency, and by their avoidance of two intuitive errors. What distinguishes regret-free strategies from each other is how they prioritise among alternatives; insertion sort prioritises lexicographically.

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