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On the Possibility of Democracy and Rational Collective Choice

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  • Hillinger, Claude

Abstract

The paper challenges the 'orthodox doctrine' of collective choice theory according to which Arrow’s 'general possibility theorem' precludes rational decision procedures generally and implies that in particular all voting procedures must be flawed. I point out that all voting procedures are cardinal and that Arrow’s result, based on preference orderings cannot apply to them. All voting procedures that have been proposed, with the exception of approval voting, involve restrictions on voters expressions of their preferences. These restrictions, not any general impossibility, are the cause of various well known pathologies. In the class of unrestricted voting procedures I favor 'evaluative voting' under which a voter can vote for or against any alternative, or abstain. I give a historical/conceptual analysis of the origins of theorists’ aversion to cardinal analysis in collective choice and voting theories.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 429.

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Date of creation: Oct 2004
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:429

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Keywords: Arrow's paradox ; approval voting ; cardinal collective choice ; instant runoff voting ; voting paradoxes;

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  1. Jonathan Levin & Barry Nalebuff, 1995. "An Introduction to Vote-Counting Schemes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 3-26, Winter.
  2. Claude Hillinger, 2001. "Money Metric, Consumer Surplus and Welfare Measurement," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 2(2), pages 177-193, 05.
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Cited by:
  1. Hillinger, Claude, 2005. "The Case for Utilitarian Voting," Discussion Papers in Economics 653, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Antoinette Baujard & Frédéric Gavrel & Herrade Igersheim & Jean-François Laslier & Isabelle Lebon, 2013. "Who's Favored by Evaluative Voting? An Experiment Conducted During the 2012 French Presidential Election," Working Papers hal-00803024, HAL.
  3. Antoinette Baujard & Herrade Igersheim, 2007. "Expérimentation du vote par note et du vote par approbation lors de l'élection présidentielle française du 22 avril 2007," Post-Print halshs-00337290, HAL.

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