On the Possibility of Democracy and Rational Collective Choice
AbstractThe 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 InfoPaper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 429.
Date of creation: Oct 2004
Date of revision:
Arrow's paradox ; approval voting ; cardinal collective choice ; instant runoff voting ; voting paradoxes;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-11-22 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2004-11-22 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-HPE-2004-11-22 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
- NEP-REG-2004-11-22 (Regulation)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Claude Hillinger, 2001. "Money Metric, Consumer Surplus and Welfare Measurement," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 2(2), pages 177-193, 05.
- 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.
- Hillinger, Claude, 2005.
"The Case for Utilitarian Voting,"
Discussion Papers in Economics
653, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
- 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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