Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare

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The literature of social choice investigates individual and societal preferences as well as a collective rationality by drawing on a combination of economic theory, philosophical perspectives, and historical records. This volume, edited by the leaders of social choice theory, presents broad yet detailed examinations of its antecedents, its growth and increasing sophistication, and its potential paths of future development. Its contributors record the controversies, the breakthrough concepts, the inherent tension between public welfare and individual rights, and the limitations of their tools. A volume without peers, this collection of original essays captures the infinite variety of responses to this challenging economic domain.

The Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare presents, in two volumes, essays on past and on-going work in social choice theory and welfare economics. The first volume consists of four parts. In Part 1 (Arrovian Impossibility Theorems), various aspects of Arrovian general impossibility theorems, illustrated by the simple majority cycle first identified by Condorcet, are expounded and evaluated. It also provides a critical survey of the work on different escape routes from impossibility results of this kind. In Part 2 (Voting Schemes and Mechanisms), the operation and performance of voting schemes and cost-sharing mechanisms are examined axiomatically, and some aspects of the modern theory of incentives and mechanism design are expounded and surveyed. In Part 3 (structure of social choice rules), the positional rules of collective decision-making (the origin of which can be traced back to a seminal proposal by Borda), the game-theoretic aspects of voting in committees, and the implications of making use of interpersonal comparisons of welfare (with or without cardinal measurability) are expounded, and the status of utilitarianism as a theory of justice is critically examined. It also provides an analytical survey of the foundations of measurement of inequality and poverty. In order to place these broad issues (as well as further issues to be discussed in the second volume of the Handbook) in perspective, Kotaro Suzumura has written an extensive introduction, discussing the historical background of social choice theory, the vistas opened by Arrow's Social Choice and Individual Values, the famous "socialist planning" controversy, and the theoretical and practicalsignificance of social choice theory. The primary purpose of this Handbook is to provide an accessible introduction to the current state of the art in social choice theory and welfare economics. The expounded theory has a strong and constructive message for pursuing human well-being and facilitating collective decision-making

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book, together with the forthcoming second volume, presents careful surveys of various aspects of social choice and welfare. Each chapter is written by a well-cast expert in the area. ...Suzumura also summarizes the main lines of ongoing and future research."
Journal of Economic Literature, 2004
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780444829146
  • Publisher: Elsevier Science
  • Publication date: 8/1/2002
  • Series: Handbooks in Economics Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 684
  • Product dimensions: 1.50 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 9.21 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface to Volume 1 (K. Arrow, A. Sen, K. Suzumura). Introduction (K. Suzumura). Part 1. Arrovian Impossibility Theorems. 1. Impossibility theorems in the Arrovian framework (D. Campbell, J. Kelly). 2. Categories of Arrovian voting schemes (F. Aleskerov). 3. Domain restrictions (W. Gaertner). Part 2. Voting Schemes and Mechanisms. 4. Voting procedures (S. Brams, P. Fishburn). 5. Implementation theory (E. Maskin, T. Sjöström). 6. Axiomatic cost and surplus-sharing (H. Moulin). Part 3. Structure of Social Choice Rules. 7. Positional rules of collective decision-making (P. Pattanaik). 8. Game-Theoretic Analysis of voting in committees (B. Peleg). 9. Representative democracy and social choice theory (N. Schofield). Part 4. Welfare, Justice and Poverty. 10. Social welfare functionals and interpersonal comparability (C. d'Aspremont, L. Gevers). 11. Utilitarianism and the theory of justice (C. Blackorby, W. Bossert, D. Donaldson). 12. Inequality, poverty and welfare (B. Dutta).
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