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Social Choice with Analytic Preferences


  • Michel LeBreton


  • John A. Weymark

    (Vanderbilt University)


A social welfare function is a mapping from a set of profiles of individual preference orderings to the set of social orderings of a universal set of alternatives. A social choice correspondence specifies a nonempty subset of the agenda for each admissible preference profile and each admissible agenda. We provide examples of economic and political preference domains for which the Arrow social welfare function axioms are inconsistent, but whose choice-theoretic counterparts (with nondictatorship strengthened to anonymity) yield a social choice correspondence possibility theorem when combined with a natural agenda domain. In both examples, agendas are compact subsets of the nonnegative orthant of a multidimensional Euclidean space. In our first possibility theorem, we consider the standard Euclidean spatial model used in many political models. An agenda can be interpreted as being the feasible vectors of public goods given the resource constraints faced by a legislature. Preferences are restricted to be Euclidean spatial preferences. Our second possibility theorem is for economic domains. Alternatives are interpreted as being vectors of public goods. Preferences are monotone and representable by an analytic utility function with no critical points. Convexity of preferences can also be assumed. Many of the utility functions used in economic models, such as Cobb-Douglas and CES, are analytic. Further, the set of monotone, convex, and analytic preference orderings is dense in the set of continuous, monotone, convex preference orderings. Thus, our preference domain is a large subset of the classical domain of economic preferences. An agenda can be interpreted as the set of feasible allocations given an initial resource endowment and the firms' production technologies. To establish this theorem, an ordinal version of the Analytic Continuation Principle is developed.

Suggested Citation

  • Michel LeBreton & John A. Weymark, 2000. "Social Choice with Analytic Preferences," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1050, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1050

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Redekop, James, 1993. "The questionnaire topology on some spaces of economic preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(5), pages 479-494.
    2. LeBreton, M., 1994. "Arrovian Social Choice on Economic Domains," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 94a37, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
    3. Kim Border, 1984. "An impossibility theorem for spatial models," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 293-305, January.
    4. Wagneur, Edouard, 1979. "Saturation Locale et Concepts Primitifs de la Theorie du Consommateur," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(6), pages 1549-1553, November.
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    8. Border, Kim C., 1983. "Social welfare functions for economic environments with and without the pareto principle," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 205-216, April.
    9. Ehlers,Lars & Storcken,Ton, 2001. "Arrow's Theorem in Spatial Environments," Research Memorandum 006, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    10. Donaldson, David & Weymark, John A., 1988. "Social choice in economic environments," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 291-308, December.
    11. Sen, Amartya K, 1979. "Personal Utilities and Public Judgements: Or What's Wrong with Welfare Economics?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 89(355), pages 537-558, September.
    12. Debreu, Gerard, 1972. "Smooth Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(4), pages 603-615, July.
    13. Bailey, Martin J, 1979. "The Possibility of Rational Social Choice in an Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(1), pages 37-56, February.
    14. Charles K. Rowley (ed.), 1993. "Social Choice Theory," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 586.
    15. Ehud Kalai & Eitan Muller & Mark Satterthwaite, 1979. "Social welfare functions when preferences are convex, strictly monotonic, and continuous," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 87-97, March.
    16. Kannai, Yakar, 1974. "Approximation of convex preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 101-106, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. BOSSERT, Walter & WEYMARK, J.A., 2006. "Social Choice: Recent Developments," Cahiers de recherche 01-2006, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    2. Le Breton, Michel & Weymark, John A., 2002. "Arrovian Social Choice Theory on Economic Domains," IDEI Working Papers 143, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Sep 2003.
    3. Ehlers, Lars & Storcken, Ton, 2009. "Oligarchies in spatial environments," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(3-4), pages 250-256, March.
    4. Ehlers,Lars & Storcken,Ton, 2001. "Arrow's Theorem in Spatial Environments," Research Memorandum 006, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    5. repec:spr:etbull:v:1:y:2013:i:1:d:10.1007_s40505-013-0004-6 is not listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations


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