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Respect for experts or respect for unanimity? The liberal paradox in probabilistic opinion pooling


  • Herzberg, Frederik

    (Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University)


Amartya Sen (1970) has shown that three natural desiderata for social choice rules are inconsistent: universal domain, respect for unanimity, and respect for some minimal rights — which can be interpreted as either expert rights or liberal rights. Dietrich and List (2008) have generalised this result to the setting of binary judgement aggregation. This paper proves that the liberal paradox holds even in the framework of probabilistic opinion pooling and discusses options to circumvent this impossibility result: restricting the aggregator domain to profiles with no potential for conflicting rights, or considering agendas whose issues are not all mutually interdependent.

Suggested Citation

  • Herzberg, Frederik, 2016. "Respect for experts or respect for unanimity? The liberal paradox in probabilistic opinion pooling," Center for Mathematical Economics Working Papers 513, Center for Mathematical Economics, Bielefeld University.
  • Handle: RePEc:bie:wpaper:513

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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.
    2. Sen, Amartya Kumar, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Scholarly Articles 3612779, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    3. Sen, Amartya, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 152-157, Jan.-Feb..
    4. Franz Dietrich & Christian List, 2008. "A liberal paradox for judgment aggregation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 31(1), pages 59-78, June.
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    More about this item


    probabilistic opinion pooling; Sen’s liberal paradox; expert rights; liberal rights; unanimity; general aggregation theory;

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