Do Expert Panelists Herd? Evidence from FDA Committees

Melissa Newham*, Rune Midjord

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


We develop a structural model to address the question whether, and to what extent, expert panelists engage in herd behavior when voting on important policy questions. Our data comes from FDA advisory committees voting on questions concerning the approval of new drug applications. We utilize a change in the voting procedure from sequential to simultaneous voting to identify herding. Estimates suggest that around half of the panelists are willing to vote against their private assessment if votes from previous experts indicate otherwise and, on average, 9 percent of the sequential votes are actual herd-votes. Temporary committee members are more prone to herding than regular (standing) members. We find that simultaneous voting improves information aggregation given our estimates.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
Number of pages52
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventThe 18th Annual International Industrial Organization Conference. IIOC 2020 - Northeastern University, Boston, United States
Duration: 1 May 20203 May 2020
Conference number: 18


ConferenceThe 18th Annual International Industrial Organization Conference. IIOC 2020
LocationNortheastern University
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • Herd behavior
  • Expert committees
  • Structural estimation
  • FDA
  • Public health

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