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Community standards


  • Miller, Alan D.


I introduce a model of community standards relevant to the judicial determination of obscenity. Standards are defined as subjective judgments restricted only by a simple reasonableness condition. Individual standards are aggregated to form the community standard. Several axioms reflect legal concerns. These require that the community standard (a) preserve unanimous agreements, (b) become more permissive when all individuals become more permissive, and not discriminate, ex ante, (c) between individuals and (d) between works. I show that any rule which satisfies these properties must be “similar” to unanimity rule. I also explore the relationship between the model and the doctrinal paradox of Kornhauser and Sager [12].

Suggested Citation

  • Miller, Alan D., 2013. "Community standards," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(6), pages 2696-2705.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:148:y:2013:i:6:p:2696-2705 DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2013.09.008

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dinko Dimitrov & Thierry Marchant & Debasis Mishra, 2012. "Separability and aggregation of equivalence relations," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 51(1), pages 191-212, September.
    2. Biung-Ghi Ju, 2010. "Individual powers and social consent: an axiomatic approach," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 34(4), pages 571-596, April.
    3. Kornhauser, Lewis A., 1992. "Modeling collegial courts I: Path-dependence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 169-185, June.
    4. 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.
    5. Samet, Dov & Schmeidler, David, 2003. "Between liberalism and democracy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 110(2), pages 213-233, June.
    6. Christopher Chambers & Alan Miller, 2011. "Rules for aggregating information," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 36(1), pages 75-82, January.
    7. Miller, Alan D., 2008. "Group identification," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 188-202, May.
    8. Barbera, Salvador & Sonnenschein, Hugo & Zhou, Lin, 1991. "Voting by Committees," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 595-609, May.
    9. Jean-Pierre Barthélemy & Bruno Leclerc & Bernard Monjardet, 1986. "On the use of ordered sets in problems of comparison and consensus of classifications," Journal of Classification, Springer;The Classification Society, vol. 3(2), pages 187-224, September.
    10. Nehring, Klaus & Puppe, Clemens, 2007. "The structure of strategy-proof social choice -- Part I: General characterization and possibility results on median spaces," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 269-305, July.
    11. Leclerc, B., 1984. "Efficient and binary consensus functions on transitively valued relations," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 45-61, August.
    12. Monderer, Dov & Samet, Dov, 1989. "Approximating common knowledge with common beliefs," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 170-190, June.
    13. Kornhauser, Lewis A, 1992. "Modeling Collegial Courts. II. Legal Doctrine," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 441-470, October.
    14. Monjardet, B., 1990. "Arrowian characterizations of latticial federation consensus functions," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 51-71, August.
    15. Peter Fishburn & Ariel Rubinstein, 1986. "Aggregation of equivalence relations," Journal of Classification, Springer;The Classification Society, vol. 3(1), pages 61-65, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nehring, Klaus & Pivato, Marcus & Puppe, Clemens, 2014. "The Condorcet set: Majority voting over interconnected propositions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 151(C), pages 268-303.
    2. Nehring, Klaus & Pivato, Marcus & Puppe, Clemens, 2011. "Condorcet admissibility: Indeterminacy and path-dependence under majority voting on interconnected decisions," MPRA Paper 32434, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Community standards; Axioms; Obscenity; Aggregation; Doctrinal paradox;

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • 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


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