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Independence and interdependence: lessons from the hive

List, Christian ORCID: 0000-0003-1627-800X and Vermeule, Adrian (2014) Independence and interdependence: lessons from the hive. Rationality and Society, 26 (2). pp. 170-207. ISSN 1043-4631

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Identification Number: 10.1177/1043463114523713


There is a substantial class of collective decision problems whose successful solution requires interdependence among decision makers at the agenda-setting stage and independence at the stage of choice. We define this class of problems and describe and apply a search-and-decision mechanism theoretically modeled in the context of honeybees and identified in earlier empirical work in biology. The honeybees’ mechanism has useful implications for mechanism design in human institutions, including courts, legislatures, executive appointments, research and development in firms, and basic research in the sciences. Our paper offers a fresh perspective on the idea of “biomimicry” in institutional design and raises the possibility of comparative institutional analysis across species.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 by SAGE Publications
Divisions: Government
Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Date Deposited: 08 May 2014 15:42
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:51

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