Abstract
herent and rational way. Several proposals have been made for information merging in which it is possible to encode the preferences of sources (Benferhat, Dubois, Prade, & Williams, 1999; Benferhat, Dubois, Kaci, & Prade, 2000; Lafage & Lang, 2000; Meyer, 2000, 2001; Andreka, Ryan, & Schobbens, 2001). Information merging has much in common with social choice theory, which aims to define operations reflecting the preferences of a society from the individual preferences of the members of the society. Given this connection, frameworks for information merging should provide satisfactory resolutions of problems raised in social choice theory. We investigate the link between the merging of epistemic states and two important results in social choice theory. We show that Arrow’s well-known impossibility theorem (Arrow, 1963) does not hold in merging frameworks when the preferences of sources are represented in terms of epistemic states. This is achieved by providing a consistent set of properties for merging from which Arrow-like properties can be derived. Similarly, by extending these to a consistent framework which includes properties corresponding to the notion of being strategy-proof, we show that results due to Gibbard and Satterthwaite (Gibbard, 1973; Satterthwaite, 1973, 1975) and other (Benoit, 2000; Barber´a, Dutta, & Sen, 2000) do not hold in merging frameworks.
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