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A liberal paradox for judgment aggregation

Listed author(s):
  • Franz Dietrich

    (University of Konstanz)

  • Christian List

    (Dept. of Government, London School of Economics)

In the emerging literature on judgment (as opposed to preference) aggregation, expert rights or liberal rights have not been investigated yet. When a group forms collective beliefs, it may assign experts with special knowledge on certain propositions the right to determine the collective judgment on those propositions; and, when a group forms collective goals or desires, it may assign individuals specially affected by certain propositions similar rights on those propositions. We identify a problem similar to, but more general than, Sen's `liberal paradox': Under plausible conditions, the assignment of such rights to two or more individuals (or subgroups) is inconsistent with the unanimity principle, whereby propositions accepted by all individuals must be collectively accepted. So a group respecting expert or liberal rights on certain propositions must sometimes overrule its unanimous judgments on others. The inconsistency does not arise if either different individuals' rights are `disconnected' or individuals are `agnostic/tolerant' or `deferring/empathetic' towards other individuals' rights. Our findings have implications for the design of mechanisms by which groups (societies, committees, expert panels, organizations) can reach decisions on systems of interconnected propositions.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Public Economics with number 0405003.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: 11 May 2004
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0405003
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 20
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  1. Franz Dietrich & Christian List, 2005. "Arrow’s theorem in judgment aggregation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19295, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Julian H. Blau, 1975. "Liberal Values and Independence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(3), pages 395-401.
  3. Dietrich, Franz, 2006. "Judgment aggregation: (im)possibility theorems," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 126(1), pages 286-298, January.
  4. Deb, Rajat & Pattanaik, Prasanta K. & Razzolini, Laura, 1997. "Game Forms, Rights, and the Efficiency of Social Outcomes," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 74-95, January.
  5. Franz Dietrich, 2007. "A generalised model of judgment aggregation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 28(4), pages 529-565, June.
  6. Dietrich, Franz, 2006. "Aggregation theory and the relevance of some issues to others," MPRA Paper 58870, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Sep 2014.
  7. List, Christian & Pettit, Philip, 2002. "Aggregating Sets of Judgments: An Impossibility Result," Economics and Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 18(01), pages 89-110, April.
  8. Sen, Amartya Kumar, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Scholarly Articles 3612779, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Rubinstein, Ariel & Fishburn, Peter C., 1986. "Algebraic aggregation theory," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 63-77, February.
  10. 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..
  11. Wilson, Robert, 1975. "On the theory of aggregation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 89-99, February.
  12. Klaus Nehring & Clemens Puppe, 2008. "Consistent judgement aggregation: the truth-functional case," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 31(1), pages 41-57, June.
  13. Dietrich, Franz, 2007. "Aggregation and the relevance of some issues for others," Research Memorandum 002, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
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