Handbook of Social Choice & Welfare

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How do we make collective decisions, distribute goods, incentivize, and punish?

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 volume continues the strong tradition of volume I (2002), supplementing it with foundational material and new results on Arrovian social choice. It also includes new material on fairness, rights, and manipulation, making the two volumes a masterful presentation of all the important topics in the field by its leading experts, including three Nobel laureates. Steven Brams, New York University

This much awaited volume provides authoritative surveys of some of the most important aspects of the theory of social choice and welfare economics. It will be a highly valuable resource for scholars interested in this area. Prasanta K. Pattanaik, University of California, Riverside

Social choice theory has produced some of the most powerful (and beautiful) findings in theoretical social science. This long-awaited volume will be a valuable resource to both students and scholars interested in exploring this important field. Eric Maskin, Nobel Laureate in Economics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780444508942
  • Publisher: Elsevier Science
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Series: Handbooks in Economics
  • Pages: 984
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 2.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface to Volume 2. Introduction. Part 5: Foundations. 13. Functions of social choice theory (K. Arrow). 14. Informational basis of social choice theory (A. Sen). 15. Competitive market mechanism as a social choice procedure (P. Hammond). 16. Functionings and Capabilities (K. Basu, L.F. López-Calva). Part 6: Developments of the basic arrovian schemes. 17. Arrovian social choice theory on economic domains (M. LeBreton, J. Weymark). 18. Topological theories of social choice (N. Baigent). 19. Non-binary social choice theory (R. Deb). Part 7: Non-welfaristic issues in social choice. 20. Social choice with fuzzy preferences (M. Salles, C.R. Barrett). 21. Fair Allocation Rules (W. Thompson) 22. Compensation and responsibility (M. Fleurbaey, F. Maniquet). 23. Welfarism, Individual Rights, and Procedural Fairness (K. Suzumura). 24.Freedom, opportunity and well-being (J. Foster). Part 8: Voting, manipulation and fairness. 25. Strategy proofness (S. Barbera). 26. Probabilistic and spatial models of voting (P. Coughlin). 27. Geometry of voting (D. Saari).

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