The classic wisdom-of-the-crowd problem asks how a principal can aggregate information about the unknown state of the world from agents without understanding the information structure among them. Mallesh M. Pai (Rice University) revisits the “Surprisingly Popular” (SP) mechanism, which draws on the expert minority opinion within a crowd, and provides a general theoretical foundation for when it can and cannot work. Mallesh proposes two new simple procedures: a “population mean based aggregation” mechanism that generalizes the SP, and a “Robust Surprisingly Popular” mechanism that can accommodate a large number of inputs being corrupted.
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