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Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya SenVolume I: Ethics, Welfare, and Measurement$
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Kaushik Basu and Ravi Kanbur

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199239115

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239115.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 17 October 2021

Irrelevant Alternatives

Irrelevant Alternatives

(p.231) Chapter 13 Irrelevant Alternatives
Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen

Kevin Roberts

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the notion of ‘irrelevant alternatives’ in the context of social choice problems. It is shown that seemingly irrelevant alternatives could be relevant because of their information content. This leads to a consideration of aggregation rules where an endogenous condition of independence of irrelevant alternatives is imposed. The analysis leads to the characterization of a unique procedure to aggregate preferences — Borda's rule. This new characterization provides insight into independence conditions and into the status of Borda's rule. An extension to a domain incorporating interpersonal comparisons is also pursued.

Keywords:   social choice, independence, information aggregation, Borda's Rule

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