Another graphical proof of arrow's impossibility theorem

  • Hansen P
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Abstract

Arrow's (1951) Impossibility Theorem is the idea that, given several well-known assumptions, the social orderings of particular alternatives that are meant to reflect individuals' preferences must match the preferences of an arbitrary individual (the dictator). A social-choice rule other than dictatorship is impossible. Following from Fountain (2000), the author presents another graphical proof of the theorem that is intended to be more accessible to students and teachers of economics. The principal strength of this approach is that the patterns of agreements and conflicts over all possible combinations of two individuals' rankings of alternatives are transparent; appreciating these patterns is the key to intuitively understanding Arrow's theorem. A self-test for readers (or a classroom exercise for students) is included. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Journal of Economic Education is the property of Heldref Publications and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Arrow's Impossibility Theorem
  • Graphical proof
  • Independence of irrelevant alternatives
  • Pareto

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Authors

  • Paul Hansen

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