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A liberal paradox for judgment aggregation

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  • Franz Dietrich
  • Christian List

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Abstract

In the emerging literature on judgment (as opposed to preference) aggregation, expert rights or liberal rights have not been investigated yet. When a group forms collective beliefs, it may assign experts with special knowledge on certain propositions the right to determine the collective judgment on those propositions; and, when a group forms collective goals or desires, it may assign individuals specially affected by certain propositions similar rights on those propositions. We identify a problem similar to, but more general than, Sen's `liberal paradox': Under plausible conditions, the assignment of such rights to two or more individuals (or subgroups) is inconsistent with the unanimity principle, whereby propositions accepted by all individuals must be collectively accepted. So a group respecting expert or liberal rights on certain propositions must sometimes overrule its unanimous judgments on others. The inconsistency does not arise if either different individuals' rights are `disconnected' or individuals are `agnostic/tolerant' or `deferring/empathetic' towards other individuals' rights. Our findings have implications for the design of mechanisms by which groups (societies, committees, expert panels, organizations) can reach decisions on systems of interconnected propositions.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Choice and Welfare.

Volume (Year): 31 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (June)
Pages: 59-78

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Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:31:y:2008:i:1:p:59-78

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References

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  1. Franz Dietrich & Christian List, 2007. "Arrow’s theorem in judgment aggregation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 29(1), pages 19-33, July.
  2. Deb, Rajat & Pattanaik, Prasanta K. & Razzolini, Laura, 1997. "Game Forms, Rights, and the Efficiency of Social Outcomes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 74-95, January.
  3. Sen, Amartya Kumar, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Scholarly Articles 3612779, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Franz Dietrich, 2007. "A generalised model of judgment aggregation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 28(4), pages 529-565, June.
  5. Blau, Julian H, 1975. "Liberal Values and Independence," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 395-401, July.
  6. Dietrich, Franz, 2007. "Aggregation and the relevance of some issues for others," Research Memorandum 002, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  7. List, Christian & Pettit, Philip, 2002. "Aggregating Sets of Judgments: An Impossibility Result," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(01), pages 89-110, April.
  8. Dietrich, Franz, 2006. "Judgment aggregation: (im)possibility theorems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 286-298, January.
  9. Klaus Nehring & Clemens Puppe, 2008. "Consistent judgement aggregation: the truth-functional case," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 41-57, June.
  10. Sen, Amartya, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 152-57, Jan.-Feb..
  11. Wilson, Robert, 1975. "On the theory of aggregation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 89-99, February.
  12. Dietrich, Franz, 2007. "Aggregation theory and the relevance of some issues to others," Research Memorandum 024, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
  13. Rubinstein, Ariel & Fishburn, Peter C., 1986. "Algebraic aggregation theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 63-77, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Mongin, Philippe, 2012. "The doctrinal paradox, the discursive dilemma, and logical aggregation theory," MPRA Paper 37752, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. List, Christian & Polak, Ben, 2010. "Introduction to judgment aggregation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(2), pages 441-466, March.
  3. Christian List, 2010. "The theory of judgment aggregation: an introductory review," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 27596, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Franz Dietrich, 2005. "Judgment aggregation in general logics," Public Economics 0505007, EconWPA.
  5. Frederik Herzberg, 2014. "Respect for experts or respect for unanimity? The liberal paradox in probabilistic opinion pooling," Working Papers 513, Bielefeld University, Center for Mathematical Economics.
  6. Christian List & Ben Polak, 2010. "Introduction to judgment aggregation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 27900, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Richard Bradley, 2007. "Reaching a consensus," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 29(4), pages 609-632, December.
  8. Klaus Nehring, 2005. "The (Im)Possibility of a Paretian Rational," Economics Working Papers 0068, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.

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