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Arrow's Theorem and Turing Computability

  • H. Reiju Mihara

    (Kagawa University)

A social welfare function for a denumerable society satisfies {Pairwise Computability} if for each pair (x, y) of alternatives, there exists an algorithm that can decide from any description of each profile on {x,y} whether the society prefers x to y. I prove that if a social welfare function satisfying Unanimity and Independence also satisfies Pairwise Computability, then it is dictatorial. This result severely limits on practical grounds Fishburn's resolution~(1970) of Arrow's impossibility. I also give an interpretation of a denumerable ``society.'' {Keywords} Arrow impossibility theorem, Hayek's knowledge problem, algorithms, recursion theory, ultrafilters.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Public Economics with number 9408001.

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Date of creation: 23 Aug 1994
Date of revision: 23 Aug 1994
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:9408001
Note: LaTeX2.09 file; Appeared in Economic Theory 10, 257--276 (1997)
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Lewis, Alain A., 1988. "An infinite version of arrow's theorem in the effective setting," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 41-48, August.
  2. Hausman, Daniel M & McPherson, Michael S, 1993. "Taking Ethics Seriously: Economics and Contemporary Moral Philosophy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(2), pages 671-731, June.
  3. H. Reiju Mihara, 1996. "Existence of a Coalitionally Strategyproof Social Choice Function: A Constructive Proof," Public Economics 9604002, EconWPA, revised 20 Sep 1996.
  4. Fishburn, Peter C., 1970. "Arrow's impossibility theorem: Concise proof and infinite voters," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 103-106, March.
  5. Kelly, Jerry S., 1988. "Social choice and computational complexity," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-8, February.
  6. H. Reiju Mihara, 1994. "Anonymity and Neutrality in Arrow's Theorem with Restricted Coalition Algebras," Public Economics 9411001, EconWPA, revised 22 Nov 1994.
  7. Arrow, Kenneth J, 1986. "Rationality of Self and Others in an Economic System," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages S385-99, October.
  8. Armstrong, Thomas E., 1980. "Arrow's theorem with restricted coalition algebras," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 55-75, March.
  9. Spear, Stephen E, 1989. "Learning Rational Expectations under Computability Constraints," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(4), pages 889-910, July.
  10. Armstrong, Thomas E., 1985. "Precisely dictatorial social welfare functions : Erratum and Addendum to `arrows theorem with restricted coalition algebras'," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 57-59, February.
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