Empirical social choice: An introduction
The year 2012 was the 30th anniversary of William H. Riker’s modern classic Liberalism against populism (1982) and is marked by the present special issue. In this introduction, we seek to identify some core elements and evaluate the current status of the Rikerian research program and its empirical applications. Special attention is given to three phenomena and their possible empirical manifestations: The instability of social choice in the form of (1) the possibility of majority cycles, (2) the non-robustness of social choices given alternative voting methods, and (3) the possibility of various forms of manipulation of the decisions (heresthetics). These topics are then connected to the contributions to the current special issue.
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