IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/sae/jothpo/v23y2011i3p359-381.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

A Welfarist Critique of Social Choice Theory

Author

Listed:
  • Aki Lehtinen

    () (University of Helsinki, Finland)

Abstract

This paper reconsiders the discussion on ordinal utilities versus preference intensities in voting theory. It is shown by way of an example that arguments concerning observability and risk-attitudes that have been presented in favour of Arrow's Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives (IIA), and against utilitarian evaluation, fail due to strategic voting. The failure of these two arguments is then used to justify utilitarian evaluation of outcomes in voting. Given a utilitarian viewpoint, it is then argued that strategy-proofness is not normatively acceptable. Social choice theory is criticised not just by showing that some of its most important conditions are not normatively acceptable, but also by showing that the very idea of imposing condition on social choice function under the assumption of sincere behaviour does not make much sense because satisfying a condition does not quarantee that a voting rule actually has the properties that the condition confers to it under sincere behaviour. IIA, the binary intensity IIA, and monotonicity are used as illustrations of this phenomenon.

Suggested Citation

  • Aki Lehtinen, 2011. "A Welfarist Critique of Social Choice Theory," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 23(3), pages 359-381, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jothpo:v:23:y:2011:i:3:p:359-381
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://jtp.sagepub.com/content/23/3/359.abstract
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Philippe Mongin, 2012. "The doctrinal paradox, the discursive dilemma, and logical aggregation theory," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 73(3), pages 315-355, September.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:jothpo:v:23:y:2011:i:3:p:359-381. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.