The Measurement of Consensus: An Axiomatic Analysis
The cohesion of a society depends to large extend on the degree to which its members coincide in their preferences (the consensus). This paper proposes axioms a consensus measure should satisfy from a normative point of view and characterizes first a class of linear and additive measures which fulfills an ordinal property similar to the concepts of first order stochastic dominance in the literature on individual decision making under risk and Lorenz curve domination in the literature on income inequality measurement. With the help of some additional properties, it is then possible to isolate from this broad class of measures a subfamily that only depends on a single parameter. Finally, we show that the consensus measures associated with the focal parameters of this subfamily have an intuitive explanation and we characterize them separately.
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