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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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Irrelevant Alternatives

Irrelevant Alternatives

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

Kevin Roberts

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199239115.003.0014

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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