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How to Judge Voting Schemes


  • Amartya Sen


This symposium on voting procedures presents many interesting findings and insights. This note scrutinizes them and discusses two general issues. First, the assumption that voters' preferences are menu-independent (and based on one canonical ordering of the alternatives) underestimates the importance of the process of voting (voting for x, against y). Second, evaluation can be a two-way process, including the axiomatic method (of social choice theory), going from isolated properties to voting schemes, and the converse method of first identifying attractions and perversities of particular voting schemes (as in this symposium) and then using properties for later axiomatic use.

Suggested Citation

  • Amartya Sen, 1995. "How to Judge Voting Schemes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 91-98, Winter.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:9:y:1995:i:1:p:91-98 Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.9.1.91

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. B. Fine & K. Fine, 1974. "Social Choice and Individual Ranking I," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(3), pages 303-322.
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    Cited by:

    1. Y. Altunbas & S.P. Chakravarty, 2000. "Proportional Representation in the Welsh Assembly," Public Choice, Springer, pages 85-94.
    2. Steven Pressman & Gale Summerfield, 2000. "The Economic Contributions of Amartya Sen," Review of Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(1), pages 89-113.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior


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