NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

A Graphical Analysis of Some Basic Results in Social Choice

Estelle Cantillon

NBER Technical Working Paper No. 268
Issued in March 2001
NBER Program(s):   TWP   PE

We use a simple graphical approach to represent Social Welfare Functions that satisfy Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives and Anonymity. This approach allows us to provide simple and illustrative proofs of May's Theorem, of variants of classic impossibility results, and of a recent result on the robustness of Majority Rule due to Maskin (1995). In each case, geometry provides new insights on the working and interplay of the axioms, and suggests new results including a new characterization of the entire class of Majority Rule SWFs, a strengthening of May's Theorem, and a new version of Maskin's Theorem.

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