Social choice and irreducible values: a political economy approach of ideology

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1998
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In the present paper, we prove that any social choice function satisfies Arrow s principle of Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives (IIA) if individual behavior is menu-dependent. Therefore, Arrow s General Possibility Theorem is not valid when individual preferences are determined by irreducible values. In this context, any aggregation device which satisfies Non-dictatorship and Paretian Unanimity principles (simple majority, for example) also does IIA. This could be an important result for social choice theory, inasmuch as individual behavior determined by irreducible values (self-interest, ideology, ethics, and social norms, for example) can validate representative democracy. The relative importance of such values and the possibility of preference reversals determine the dynamics of social choice according to democratic principles.


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