The two most influential traditions of contemporary theorizing about democracy, socialchoice theory and deliberative democracy, are generally thought to be at loggerheads, in that the former demonstrates the impossibility, instability or meaninglessness of the rational collective outcomes sought by the latter. We argue that the two traditions can be reconciled. After expounding the central Arrow and Gibbard-Satterthwaite impossibility results, we reassess their implications, identifying the conditions under which meaningful democratic decision making is possible. We argue that deliberation (...) can promote these conditions, and hence that socialchoice theory suggests not that democratic decision making is impossible, but rather that democracy must have a deliberative aspect. (shrink)
We introduce a logic specifically designed to support reasoning about socialchoice functions. The logic includes operators to capture strategic ability, and operators to capture agent preferences. We establish a correspondence between formulae in the logic and properties of socialchoice functions, and show that the logic is expressively complete with respect to socialchoice functions, i.e., that every socialchoice function can be characterised as a formula of the logic. We prove (...) that the logic is decidable, and give a complete axiomatization. To demonstrate the value of the logic, we show in particular how it can be applied to the problem of determining whether a socialchoice function is strategy-proof. (shrink)
We study the existence of a group of individuals which has some decisive power for socialchoice correspondences that satisfy a monotonicity property which we call modified monotonicity. And we examine the relation between modified monotonicity and strategy-proofness of socialchoice correspondences according to the definition by Duggan and Schwartz (2000). We will show mainly the following two results. (1) Modified monotonicity implies the existence of an oligarchy. An oligarchy is a group of individuals such that (...) it has some decisive power (semi-decisiveness), and at least one of the most preferred alternatives of every its member is always chosen by any socialchoice correspondence. (2) Strategy-proofness of socialchoice correspondences is equivalent to modified monotonicity. (shrink)
Previous investigations have shown that a socialchoice function which is partially implementable must be characterized by pervasive veto power. This paper investigates how much additional latitude in the design of socialchoice functions, and how much relief from this vetoers result, can be achieved by examining multi-valued socialchoice rules and relaxing the requirement of partial implementability to a requirement that we call weak partial implementability. We find that the power structures which characterize (...) partially implementable socialchoice functions, including the veto properties, also characterize weakly partially implementable socialchoice rules. The conclusion is that invoking multi-valuedness and implementation of appealing socialchoice rules in strong Nash equilibria. Our results apparently exhaust the possibilities for implementation in strong Nash equilibrium. If any implementation possibility results are to be achieved, they can apparently come only by weakening the equilibrium requirement. (shrink)
It is now well known that under some eminently acceptable behavioral rule in comparing various power sets every nonimposed, binary, multivalued socialchoice mechanism is strategy-proof or oligarchic. Various attempts have been made to resolve the paradox either by relaxing binariness or by weakening the notion of strategy-proofness. By relaxing both binariness and the notion of strategy-proofness this paper shows that the trade-off between weak strategy-proofness and various unacceptable power structures, such as oligarchy or dictatorship, would remain intact.
A fixed agenda socialchoice correspondence Φ on outcome set X maps each profile of individual preferences into a nonempty subset of X. If Φ satisfies an analogue of Arrow's independence of irrelevant alternatives condition, then either the range of Φ contains exactly two alternatives, or else there is at most one individual whose preferences have any bearing on Φ. This is the case even if Φ is not defined for any proper subset of X.
There has been a significant interest in the recent literature in developing a solution to the problem of theory choice which is both normative and descriptive, but agent-based rather than rule-based, originating from Pierre Duhem’s notion of ‘good sense’. In this paper we present the properties Duhem attributes to good sense in different contexts, before examining its current reconstructions advanced in the literature and their limitations. We propose an alternative account of good sense, seen as promoting social consensus (...) in science, and show that it is superior to its rivals in two respects: it is more faithful to Duhemian good sense, and it cashes out the effect that virtues have on scientific progress. We then defend the social consensus account against objections that highlight the positive role of diversity and division of labour in science. (shrink)
An analogue of Arrow’s theorem has been thought to limit the possibilities for multi-criterial theory choice. Here, an example drawn from Toy Science, a model of theories and choice criteria, suggests that it does not. Arrow’s assumption that domains are unrestricted is inappropriate in connection with theory choice in Toy Science. There are, however, variants of Arrow’s theorem that do not require an unrestricted domain. They require instead that domains are, in a technical sense, ‘rich’. Since there (...) are rich domains in Toy Science, such theorems do constrain theory choice to some extent—certainly in the model and perhaps also in real science. (shrink)
A collective choice mechanism can be viewed as a game in normal form; in this article it is shown, for very attractive rules and for sets with any number of alternatives, how individuals involved in a collective decision problem can construct the preferences they choose to express. An example is given with a version of plurality rule. Manipulability results are deduced from such a characterization.
This paper examines how experimental scientists choose theoretical frameworks as well as their experimental systems for doing research. I start out with Kuhn's claim that there are no (single) algorithms that could determine the choices made by individual scientists. Samir Okasha has recently provided an argument for this claim in terms of socialchoice theory, which I briefly discuss. Then, I show why this problem is not relevant in an experimental science. There are social mechanisms in place (...) that make sure the community chooses the best framework and a matching experimental system. As historical evidence for this claim, I present the case of classical genetics. (shrink)
Social identity poses one of the most important challenges to rational choice theory, but rational choice theorists do not hold a common position regarding identity. On one hand, externalist rational choice ignores the concept of identity or reduces it to revealed preferences. On the other hand, internalist rational choice considers identity as a key concept in explaining social action because it permits expressive motivations to be included in the models. However, internalist theorists tend to (...) reduce identity to desire—the desire of a person to express his or her social being. From an internalist point of view, that is, from a viewpoint in which not only desires but also beliefs play a key role in social explanations as mental entities, this article rejects externalist reductionism and proposes a redefinition of social identity as a net of beliefs about oneself, beliefs that are indexical, robust, and socially shaped. (shrink)
This paper focuses on school choice and the extent to which admissions to publicly-funded secondary schools in England address issues of equity and social justice. It argues that schools with responsibility for their own admissions are more likely than others to act in their own self interest by 'selecting in' or 'creaming' particular pupils and 'selecting out' others. Given this, it is argued that individual schools should not be responsible for admissions. Instead, admissions should be the responsibility of (...) a local authority (or non-partisan body); this body should make decisions about who should be allocated to which school on the basis of the expressed wishes of the parents, and the admissions criteria of the school in question. Admissions criteria should be objective, clear and fair and the admissions system itself should address issues of equity and social justice. It is argued that systems where there are some 'controls' on the choice process should be facilitated to address equity and social justice considerations which can benefit individuals and communities. (shrink)
Recent work has shown that preschool-aged children and adults understand freedom of choice regardless of culture, but that adults across cultures differ in perceiving social obligations as constraints on action. To investigate the development of these cultural differences and universalities, we interviewed school-aged children (4–11) in Nepal and the United States regarding beliefs about people's freedom of choice and constraint to follow preferences, perform impossible acts, and break social obligations. Children across cultures and ages universally endorsed (...) the choice to follow preferences but not to perform impossible acts. Age and culture effects also emerged: Young children in both cultures viewed social obligations as constraints on action, but American children did so less as they aged. These findings suggest that while basic notions of free choice are universal, recognitions of social obligations as constraints on action may be culturally learned. (shrink)
Kuhn’s famous thesis that there is ‘no unique algorithm’ for choosing between rival scientific theories is analysed using the machinery of socialchoice theory. It is shown that the problem of theory choice as posed by Kuhn is formally identical to a standard socialchoice problem. This suggests that analogues of well-known results from the socialchoice literature, such as Arrow’s impossibility theorem, may apply to theory choice. If an analogue of Arrow’s (...) theorem does hold for theory choice this would refute Kuhn’s thesis, but it would also pose a threat to the rationality of science, a threat that is if anything more worrying than that posed by Kuhn. Various possible ‘escape routes’ from Arrow’s impossibility result are examined, in particular Amartya Sen’s idea of ‘enriching the informational basis’. It is shown that Sen’s idea can be applied to the problem of theory choice in science. This in turn sheds light on two well-known approaches to inductive inference in philosophy of science: Bayesianism and statistical model selection. (shrink)
Distributed cognition refers to processes which are (i) cognitive and (ii) distributed across multiple agents or devices rather than performed by a single agent. Distributed cognition has attracted interest in several fields ranging from sociology and law to computer science and the philosophy of science. In this paper, I discuss distributed cognition from a social-choice-theoretic perspective. Drawing on models of judgment aggregation, I address two questions. First, how can we model a group of individuals as a distributed cognitive (...) system? Second, can a group acting as a distributed cognitive system be ‘rational’ and ‘track the truth’ in the outputs it produces? I argue that a group’s performance as a distributed cognitive system depends on its ‘aggregation procedure’ – its mechanism for aggregating the group members’ inputs into collective outputs – and I investigate the properties of an aggregation procedure that matter. (shrink)
In models of multi-level selection, the property of Darwinian fitness is attributed to entities at more than one level of the biological hierarchy, e.g. individuals and groups. However, the relation between individual and group fitness is a controversial matter. Theorists disagree about whether group fitness should always, or ever, be defined as total (or average) individual fitness. This paper tries to shed light on the issue by drawing on work in socialchoice theory, and pursuing an analogy between (...) fitness and utility. Socialchoice theorists have long been interested in the relation between individual and social utility, and have identified conditions under which social utility equals total (or average) individual utility. These ideas are used to shed light on the biological problem. (shrink)
Axiomatic characterization results in socialchoice theory are usually compared either regarding the normative plausibility or regarding the logical strength of the axioms involved. Here, instead, we propose to compare axiomatizations according to the language used for expressing the axioms. In order to carry out such a comparison, we suggest a formalist approach to axiomatization results which uses a restricted formal logical language to express axioms. Axiomatic characterization results in socialchoice theory then turn into definability (...) results of formal logic. The advantages of this approach include the possibility of non-axiomatizability results, a distinction between absolute and relative axiomatizations, and the possibility to ask how rich a language needs to be to express certain axioms. We argue for formal minimalism, i.e., for favoring axiomatizations in the weakest language possible. (shrink)
I comment on Amartya Sen's study of the relations between the analysis of freedom and the theory of socialchoice. Two of his themes are analysed with regard to their contribution to an analytic understanding of the issues. These are: (1) the multiple interpretations of the concept of ‘preferences’ as a foundation for the formal conceptualizations of socialchoice and freedom; and (2) some issues in the formalization of freedom as a value to be compared with (...) outcomes. Under (2), I mainly point out some difficulties in the existing analyses and mildly support a ‘flexibility’ interpretation of freedom that I have advanced earlier. I conclude with some observations drawn from history and literature which complicate the value bien-pensant thinkers are prone to place on freedom. (Published Online February 16 2006). (shrink)
Amartya Sen has recently suggested that certain issues which arise in the application of the capability approach can be seen in terms of socialchoice. This article explores certain connections and tensions between Kenneth Arrow's celebrated discussion of socialchoice and the capability approach while focusing on one central link: pluralism. Given the variety of values people hold, substantive issues which arise in the application of the capability approach can be seen as socialchoice (...) problems. Seeing them in this way helps to explain some of Sen's suggestions about applying the approach in the light of an analogue of Arrow's theorem. However, it also poses a potential problem because of the focus on preferences in socialchoice theory, given that the capability approach is motivated in part by problems which `adaptive preferences' raise for `utility'-based views. In this article, it is argued that Sen's writings about public reasoning allow him to address this problem to some degree. The reading underlying this argument clarifies issues about the relationship between the individual and society in his approach. It also illuminates the extent of Sen's debt to John Rawls's writings on `public reason', while clarifying some points on which Sen and Rawls diverge. Key Words: socialchoice capability welfare democracy. (shrink)
In this paper we explore the relation between three areas: judgment aggregation, belief merging and socialchoice theory. Judgment aggregation studies how to aggregate individual judgments on logically interconnected propositions into a collective decision on the same propositions. When majority voting is applied to some propositions (the premises) it may however give a different outcome than majority voting applied to another set of propositions (the conclusion). Starting from this so-called doctrinal paradox, the paper surveys the literature on judgment (...) aggregation (and its relation to preference aggregation), and shows that the application of a well known belief merging operator can dissolve the paradox. Finally, the use of distances is shown to establish a link between belief merging and preference aggregation in socialchoice theory. (shrink)
Jonathan Aldred shares our desire to promote a reconciliation between socialchoice theory and deliberative democracy in the interests of a more comprehensive and compelling account of democracy.1 His comments on some details of our analysis – specifically, our use of Arrow’s conditions of universal domain and independence of irrelevant alternatives – give us an opportunity to clarify our position. His discussion of the independence condition in particular identifies some ambiguity in our exposition, and as such is useful. (...) We are less impressed by the way Aldred characterizes the overall terms of the reconciliation we propose. We believe that his argument on this matter should be resisted because it provides deliberative democrats with a bad excuse to dismiss socialchoice theory altogether, which is surely not what he intends. (shrink)
This paper summarizes and rebuts the three standard objections made by socialchoice theorists against interpersonal utility. The first objection argues that interpersonal utility is measningless. I show that this objection either focuses on irrelevant kinds of meaning or else uses implausible criteria of meaningfulness. The second objection argues that interpersonal utility has no role to play in socialchoice theory. I show that on the contrary interpersonal utility is useful in formulating goals for social (...)choice. The third objection argues that interpersonal utility in socialchoice theory can be replaced by clearer notions. I show that the replacements proposed are unsatisfactory in either interpersonal utility's descriptive or explanatory role. My conclusion is that interpersonal utility has a legitimate place in socialchoice theory. (shrink)
I will characterize the utilitarian and maximin rules of socialchoice game-theoretically. That is, I will introduce games whose solutions are the utilitarian and maximin distributions respectively. Then I will compare the rules by exploring similarities and differences between these games. This method of comparison has been carried out by others. But I characterize the two rules using games that involve bargaining within power structures. This new characterization better highlights the ethical differences between the rules.
The determination of “who is a J” within a society is treated as an aggregation of the views of the members of the society regarding this question. Methods, similar to those used in SocialChoice theory are applied to axiomatize three criteria for determining who is a J: 1) a J is whoever defines oneself to be a J. 2) a J is whoever a “dictator” determines is a J. 3) a J is whoever an “oligarchy” of individuals (...) agrees is a J. (shrink)
One of the main results in topological socialchoice states the non-existence of a continuous, anonymous, and unanimous aggregation rule on spheres. This note provides a proof based upon simple methods such as integration.
The various paradoxes of socialchoice uncovered by Arrow , Sen  and others See Murakami  for an exhaustive discussion of many of these paradoxes. have led some writers to question the basic assumption of a binary socialchoice function underlying most of these paradoxes. Schwartz , for example, proves an important theorem which may be considered to be a generalization of the famous paradox of Arrow,In a strictly formal sense, Schwartz's  theorem is not (...) a generalization of Arrow's paradox in so far as Schwartz replaces some of Arrow's conditions by stronger conditions which cannot be deduced from any consistent subset of the set of Arrow conditions. The essence of Schwartz's theorem does, however, represent an extension of the paradox of Arrow. Also note that Schwartz  interprets his theorem not only in terms of collective decision-making but also in terms of individual decision-making. In this note we are concerned only with collective decision-making. and then lays the blame for this paradox on the assumption of a binary socialchoice function.Another writer who discusses the condition of a binary choice function from a somewhat similar angle is A. Gibbard. In an unpublished paper he proves an important extension of Arrow's theorem and argues against the simultaneous insistence on a binary choice function and on Arrow's  condition of the independence of irrelevant alternatives. In this paper, however, we are not concerned with the condition of the independence of irrelevant alternatives. He then proceeds to define a type of choice functions which, like binary choice functions, define the best elements in sets of more than two alternatives on the basis of binary comparisons, but which, as he claims, have an advantage over binary choice functions, in so far as they always ensure the existence of best elements for sets of more than two alternatives irrespective of the results of binary comparisons.It is, of course, being assumed that the best elements are defined for two-element sets. The purpose of this paper is to show that even a considerable weakening of the assumption of a binary socialchoice function does not go very far towards solving some of the paradoxes under consideration, and that if replacing the requirement of a binary socialchoice function by a Schwartz type socialchoice function solves these paradoxes, it does so only by violating the universally acceptable value judgment that in choosing from a set of alternatives, society should never choose an alternative which is Pareto inoptimal in that set (i.e., the socially best alternatives in a set should always be Pareto optimal). This argument is substantiated with the help of an extended version of Sen's  paradox of a Paretian liberal, and thus a by-product of our analysis is a generalization of the theorem of Sen . The argument itself, however, is more general and applies also to the impossibility result proved by Schwartz . (shrink)
This paper discusses aspects of the theory of socialchoice when a nonempty choice set is to be determined for each situation, which consists of a feasible set of alternatives and a preference order for each voter on the set of nonempty subsets of alternatives. The individual preference assumptions include ordering properties and averaging conditions, the latter of which are motivated by the interpretation that subset A is preferred to subset B if and only if the individual (...) prefers an even-chance lottery over the basic alternatives in A to an even-chance lottery over the basic alternatives in B. Corresponding to this interpretation, a choice set with two or more alternatives is resolved by an even-chance lottery over these alternatives. Thus, from the traditional no-lottery socialchoice theory viewpoint, ties are resolved by even-chance lotteries on the tied alternatives. Compared to the approach which allows all lotteries to compete along with the basic alternatives, the present approach is a contraction which allows only even-chance lotteries.After discussing individual preference axioms, the paper examines Pareto optimality for nonempty subsets of a feasible set in a socialchoice context with n voters. Aspects of simple-majority comparisons in the even-chance context follow, including an analysis of single-peaked preferences. The paper concludes with an Arrowian type impossibility theorem that is designed for the even-chance setting. (shrink)
Processes of collective decision making are seen throughout modern society. How does a government decide on an investment strategy within the health care and educational sectors? Should a government or a community introduce measures to combat climate change and CO2 emissions, even if others choose not too? Should a country develop a nuclear capability despite the risk that other countries may follow their lead? -/- This introductory text explores the theory of socialchoice. Socialchoice theory (...) provides an analysis of collective decision making. The main aim of the book is to introduce students to the various methods of aggregating the preferences of all members of a given society into some social or collective preference. Written as a primer suitable for advanced undergraduates and graduates, this text will act as an important starting point for students grappling with the complexities of socialchoice theory. With all new chapter exercises this rigorous yet accessible primer avoids the use of technical language and provides an up-to-date discussion of this rapidly developing field. (shrink)
It often happens that the entry of a third candidate into a race for legislative office is supported by a group of voters who favour, not the new candidate, but one of the two initially declared candidates. It is hoped that the third candidate will draw votes away from a particular one of the other two, changing the course of the election. This phenomenon is examined at a general level and the set of socialchoice rules which are (...) invulnerable in this sense is characterized. (shrink)
In a recent paper  we presented a model of societies. In the context of that model, we argued that in the field of socialchoice it is necessary to consider some type of cardinal utility indices if we want to develop a sensible analysis. The main purpose of the present article is to complete and extend an argument initiated in Section 5 of  by giving a rigorous formulation and proof of a theorem informally discussed there.To formulate (...) rigorously our theorem a concept of impersonality is introduced that appears to be more general than those which have been used in the economic literature.Our arguments concerning the need to use cardinal utility indices in the field of socialchoice are shown to be similar to those used by the proponents of decentralization in the controversy regarding centralization and decentralization as alternative ways of organizing the economic activity of a society. (shrink)
This paper examines socialchoice theory with the strong Pareto principle. The notion of conditional decisiveness is introduced to clarify the underlying power structure behind strongly Paretian aggregation rules satisfying binary independence. We discuss the various degrees of social rationality: transitivity, semi-transitivity, the interval-order property, quasi-transitivity, and acyclicity.
Impossibility theorems for 2-person and majority continuous games on the unit circle are presented. The emphasis is on simple methods, albeit generating new results, to offer insights into the sophisticated results of theorists in topological socialchoice.
A new investigation is launched into the problem of decision-making in the face of ‘complete ignorance’, and linked to the problem of socialchoice. In the first section the author introduces a set of properties which might characterize a criterion for decision-making under complete ignorance. Two of these properties are novel: ‘independence of non-discriminating states’, and ‘weak pessimism’. The second section provides a new characterization of the so-called principle of insufficient reason. In the third part, lexicographic maximin and (...) maximax criteria are characterized. Finally, the author's results are linked to the problem of socialchoice. (shrink)
Most legal systems rely heavily on the notion of the reasonable man. Here an attempt is made to analyze the reasonable man in a socialchoice model. The main argument is that if the reasonable man satisfies a certain set of axioms, he essentially coincides with one of the individuals, both in terms of his preferences and in terms of his expectations.
We show that, when the number of participating agents n tends to infinity, all classical socialchoice rules are asymptotically strategy-proof with the proportion of manipulable profiles being of order O (1/vn).
The difficulty of making social choices seems to take on two forms: one that is related to both preferences and the method used in aggregating them and one which is related to the preferences only. In the former type the difficulty has to do with the discrepancies of outcomes resulting from various preference aggregation methods and the computation of winners in elections. Some approaches and results which take their motivation from the computability theory are discussed. The latter ‘institution-free’ type (...) of difficulty pertains to solution theory of the voting games. We discuss the relationships between various solution concepts, e.g. uncovered set, Banks set, Copeland winners. Finally rough sets are utilized in an effort to measure the difficulty of making social choices. (shrink)
This article aims to examine Adam Smith’s deep and broad influence on the thought of Amartya Sen, especially concerning the issue of social justice that pervades the writings of both authors. First, we will analyze Sen’s revision of the work of Smith to refute the interpretation still prevalent, that makes use of certain excerpts from The Wealth of Nations as the main reference in defending the deregulation of markets and in exempting the economic thought from any consideration of moral (...) values, demonstrating how Sen draws on Smith’s ideas to explain the impoverishment of economics when it departs from ethics. Then, we will consider the overwhelming influence of the Smithian thought on Sen’s criticism of the theory of rational choice through his distinctive formulation of the theory of socialchoice, whose importance was rightly recognized, earning him the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998. (shrink)
The purpose of this article is to introduce a Cartesian product structure into the socialchoice theoretical framework and to examine if new possibility results to Gibbard’s and Sen’s paradoxes can be developed thanks to it. We believe that a Cartesian product structure is a pertinent way to describe individual rights in the socialchoice theory since it discriminates the personal features comprised in each social state. First we define some conceptual and formal tools related (...) to the Cartesian product structure. We then apply these notions to Gibbard’s paradox and to Sen’s impossibility of a Paretian liberal. Finally we compare the advantages of our approach to other solutions proposed in the literature for both impossibility theorems. (shrink)
Designing a mechanism that provides a direct incentive for an individual to report her utility function over several alternatives is a difficult task. A framework for such mechanism design is the following: an individual (a decision maker) is faced with an optimization problem (e.g., maximization of expected utility), and a mechanism designer observes the decision maker’s action. The mechanism does reveal the individual’s utility truthfully if the mechanism designer, having observed the decision maker’s action, infers the decision maker’s utilities over (...) several alternatives. This paper studies an example of such a mechanism and discusses its application to the problem of optimal socialchoice. Under certain simplifying assumptions about individuals’ utility functions and about how voters choose their voting strategies, this mechanism selects the alternative that maximizes Harsanyi’s social utility function and is Pareto-efficient. (shrink)
This article elaborates on foundational issues in the social sciences and their impact on the contemporary theory of belief revision. Recent work in the foundations of economics has focused on the role external social norms play in choice. Amartya Sen has argued in [Sen93] that the traditional rationalizability approach used in the theory of rational choice has serious problems accommodating the role of social norms. Sen’s more recent work [Sen96, Sen97] proposes how one might represent (...)social norms in the theory of choice, and in a very recent article [BS07] Walter Bossert and Kotaro Suzumura develop Sen’s proposal, offering an extension of the classical theory of choice that is capable of dealing with social norms. The first part of this article offers an alternative functional characterization of the extended notion of rationality employed by Bossert and Suzumura in [BS07]. This characterization, unlike the one offered in [BS07], represents a norm-sensitive notion of rationality in terms of a pure functional constraint unmediated by a notion of revealed preference (something that is crucial for the application developed in the second part of this article). This functional characterization is formulated for general domains (as is Bossert and Suzumura’s characterization) and is therefore empirically more applicable than usual characterizations of rationality. Interestingly, the functional constraint we propose is a variant of a condition first entertained in [AGM85] by Carlos Alchourr´on, Peter Gärdenfors and David Makinson in the area of belief change. (shrink)
Rawls' Difference Principle asserts that a basic economic structure is just if it makes the worst off people as well off as is feasible. How well off someone is is to be measured by an ‘index’ of ‘primary social goods’. It is this index that gives content to the principle, and Rawls gives no adequate directions for constructing it. In this essay a version of the difference principle is proposed that fits much of what Rawls says, but that makes (...) use of no index. Instead of invoking an index of primary social goods, the principle formulated here invokes a partial ordering of prospects for opportunities. (shrink)
This article elaborates on foundational issues in the social sciences and their impact on the contemporary theory of belief revision. Recent work in the foundations of economics has focused on the role external social norms play in choice. Amartya Sen has argued in [Sen93] that the traditional rationalizability approach used in the theory of rational choice has serious problems accommodating the role of social norms. Sen's more recent work [Sen96, Sen97] proposes how one might represent (...)social norms in the theory of choice, and in a very recent article [BS07] Walter Bossert and Kotaro Suzumura develop Sen's proposal, offering an extension of the classical theory of choice that is capable of dealing with social norms.The first part of this article offers an alternative functional characterization of the extended notion of rationality employed by Bossert and Suzumura in [BS07]. This characterization, unlike the one offered in [BS07], represents a norm-sensitive notion of rationality in terms of a pure functional constraint unmediated by a notion of revealed preference (something that is crucial for the application developed in the second part of this article). This functional characterization is formulated for general domains (as is Bossert and Suzumura's characterization) and is therefore empirically more applicable than usual characterizations of rationality. Interestingly, the functional constraint we propose is a variant of a condition first entertained in [AGM85] by Carlos Alchourrón, Peter Gärdenfors and David Makinson in the area of belief change.The second part of this article applies the theory developed in the first part to the realm of belief change. We first point out that social norms can be invoked to concoct counterexamples against some postulates of belief change (like postulate (*7)) that are necessary for belief change to be relational. These examples constitute the epistemological counterpart of Sen's counterexamples against condition α in rational choice (as a matter of fact, Rott has showed in [Rot01] that condition and postulate (*7) are mutually mappable). These examples are variants of examples Rott has recently presented in [Rot04]. One of our main goals in this article consists in applying the theory developed in the first part to develop a theory of norm-inclusive belief change that circumvents the counterexamples. We offer a new axiomatization for belief change and we furnish correspondence results relating constraints of rational choice to postulates of belief change. (shrink)
In this paper I propose that what social psychologists refer to as social identity is a plausible empirical correlate on the part of the individual to what some philosophers and economists call collective intention. A discussion of an experiment yields the question what kind of mental state social identity might be and how it is related to the standard desire/belief conception. It is argued that social identity involves both a desire and a belief, and that one (...) distinguishing feature of it is that it makes individual choice parametric. (shrink)
This article argues that effective corporate social responsibility (CSR) of multinational pharmaceutical companies in developing countries should reflect context, opportunity, proximity, time and impact in accordance with the social integration and ethical approaches to CSR. It proposes a CSR model expressed as CSR=COPTI+SI+E, which acknowledges access-to-medicines as a matter in the global public domain, a public choice problem and a moral responsibility issue for multinational pharmaceutical companies. This model recognises the globalisation of the principle of humanity in (...) communities of place and communities of interest as highlighted by the Global Economic Ethic Manifesto 2009 as an integral part of the responsibilities of multinational pharmaceutical companies. The model reflects a global application of the concept of disadvantaged consumer already known to some national laws. The article suggests an access-to-medicines CSR framework for pharmaceutical companies which may include pricing, patents, testing and clinical trials, research and development, joint public private initiative and appropriate use of drugs. (shrink)
This paper reports a preliminary sketch of a framework for integrating perspectives on economics, ethics, strategy, and stakeholders (Jones, 1995). It may notbe desirable in management practice to separate such considerations (Harris & Freeman, 2008). There are three general types of collective choice institutions: governments, markets, and voluntary associations. There are four general types of moral theory: moral rules (Kantianism), consequentialism (utilitarianism), virtuousness (bundling virtue theory, religion, and moral intuitionism), and social contract. There are three general positions concerning (...)social responsibilities of individuals and corporations (i.e., a licensed group of individuals). One position asserts zero social responsibility beyond compliance with laws. The polar-opposite position asserts significant social responsibilities by moral obligation. An intermediate position asserts social responsibility by agent cost-benefit analysis. The framework seeks to map these types of institutions, moral theories, and social responsibility conceptions relative to one another. The purpose is to see whether insight can be obtained concerning certain key developing debates. The paper explores implications of the work of Ostrom and Williamson (winners of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences) for this framework. That work addresses choice institutions—to which moral theories and social responsibility theories can be added. (shrink)
Arrow's theorem is really a theorem about the independence condition. In order to show the very crucial role that this condition plays, the theorem is proved in a refined version, where the use of the Pareto condition is almost avoided.A distinction is made between group preference functions and group decision functions, yielding respectively preference relations and optimal subsets as values. Arrow's theorem is about the first kind, but some ambiguities and mistakes in his book are explained if we assume that (...) he was really thinking of decision functions. The trouble then is that it is not clear how to formulate the independence condition for decision functions. Therefore the next step is to analyse Arrow's argument for accepting the independence condition.The most frequent ambiguity depends on an interpretation of A as the set of all conceivable alternatives, while the variable subset B is the set of all feasible or available alternatives. He then argues that preferences between alternatives that are not feasible shall not influence the choice from the set of available alternatives. But even if this principle is accepted, it only forces us to require independence with respect to some specific set B and not to every B simultaneously. Therefore the independence condition cannot be accepted on these grounds.Another argument is about an election where one of the candidates dies. On one interpretation this argument can be taken to support an independence requirement which leads to a contradiction. On another interpretation it is a condition about connexions between choices from different sets.The so-called problem of binary choice is found to be different from the independence problem and it plays no essential role in Arrow's impossibility result. Other impossibility results by Sen, Batra and Pattanaik and by Schwartz are of a different character.In the last section, several weaker independence conditions are presented. Their relations to Arrow's condition are stated and the arguments supporting them are discussed. (shrink)
This article combines SocialChoice Theory with Discrete Optimization. We assume that individuals have preferences over edges of a graph that need to be aggregated. The goal is to find a socially “best” spanning tree in the graph. As ranking all spanning trees is becoming infeasible even for small numbers of vertices and/or edges of a graph, our interest lies in finding algorithms that determine a socially “best” spanning tree in a simple manner. This problem is closely related (...) to the minimum (or maximum) spanning tree problem in Discrete Optimization. Our main result shows that for the various underlying ranking rules on the set of spanning trees discussed in this article, the sets of “best” spanning trees coincide. Moreover, a greedy algorithm based on a transitive group ranking on the set of edges will always provide such a “best” spanning tree. (shrink)