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Political Science Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

2011

Political Theory

Arrow Theorem

Articles 1 - 3 of 3

Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz May 2011

Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

This short piece is a contribution to The Encylopedia of Global Justice (ed. D.K. Chatterjee) (forthcoming from Springer Verlag May 2011). It summarizes the state of reserach on the problem for collective choice discovered by Kenneth Arrow in his Impossibility Theorem. In 1951 Arrow proved that a set of four or five (depending on how one counts them) minimal constraints that seem constitutive of democratic decisionmaking, including nondictatorship and rational consistency, are mutually incompatible. This created the burgeoning field of Social Choice Theory. I explain the problem in nontechnical terms, explore its implications especially for global justice, and review ...


Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz Jan 2011

Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

This short nontechnical article reviews the Arrow Impossibility Theorem and its implications for rational democratic decisionmaking. In the 1950s, economist Kenneth J. Arrow proved that no method for producing a unique social choice involving at least three choices and three actors could satisfy four seemingly obvious constraints that are practically constitutive of democratic decisionmaking. Any such method must violate such a constraint and risks leading to disturbingly irrational results such and Condorcet cycling. I explain the theorem in plain, nonmathematical language, and discuss the history, range, and prospects of avoiding what seems like a fundamental theoretical challenge to the possibility ...


Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz Jan 2011

Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

This short nontechnical article reviews the Arrow Impossibility Theorem and its implications for rational democratic decisionmaking. In the 1950s, economist Kenneth J. Arrow proved that no method for producing a unique social choice involving at least three choices and three actors could satisfy four seemingly obvious constraints that are practically constitutive of democratic decisionmaking. Any such method must violate such a constraint and risks leading to disturbingly irrational results such and Condorcet cycling. I explain the theorem in plain, nonmathematical language, and discuss the history, range, and prospects of avoiding what seems like a fundamental theoretical challenge to the possibility ...