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Sen's Theorem: Geometric Proof, New Interpretations

Social Choice and Welfare, Vol. 31, pp. 393-413, 2008

20 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2007 Last revised: 29 Aug 2013

Lingfang (Ivy) Li

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

Donald G. Saari

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 11, 2007

Abstract

Sen's classic social choice result supposedly demonstrates a conflict between Pareto and even minimal forms of liberalism. By providing the first direct mathematical proof of this seminal result, we underscore a significantly different interpretation: rather than conflicts among rights, Sen's result occurs because the liberalism assumption negates the assumption that voters have transitive preferences. This explanation enriches interpretations of Sen's conclusion by including radically new kinds of societal conflicts, it suggests ways to sidestep these difficulties, and it explains earlier approaches to avoid the difficulties.

Keywords: Sen, Paretian liberal, paradox, decision theory

JEL Classification: D71, C72

Suggested Citation

Li, Lingfang (Ivy) and Saari, Donald G., Sen's Theorem: Geometric Proof, New Interpretations (July 11, 2007). Social Choice and Welfare, Vol. 31, pp. 393-413, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1028364 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1028364

Lingfang (Ivy) Li

Shanghai University of Finance and Economics ( email )

777 Guoding Road
Shanghai, Shanghai 200433
China

HOME PAGE: http://www.ivy-li.net

Donald G. Saari (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics ( email )

3151 Social Science Plaza
Irvine, CA 92697-5100
United States
(949) 824-5894 (Phone)

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