Article | Social Choice and Welfare

Assent-maximizing Social Choice

by Katherine A. Baldiga and Jerry R. Green


We take a decision theoretic approach to the classic social choice problem, using data on the frequency of choice problems to compute social choice functions. We define a family of social choice rules that depend on the population's preferences and on the probability distribution over the sets of feasible alternatives that the society will face. Our methods generalize the well-known Kemeny Rule. In the Kemeny Rule, it is known a priori that the subset of feasible alternatives will be a pair. We define a distinct social choice function for each distribution over the feasible subsets. Our rules can be interpreted as distance minimization—selecting the order closest to the population's preferences, using a metric on the orders that reflects the distribution over the possible feasible sets. The distance is the probability that two orders will disagree about the optimal choice from a randomly selected available set. We provide an algorithmic method to compute these metrics in the case where the probability of a given feasible set is a function only of its cardinality.

Keywords: Decision Choices and Conditions; Theory; Measurement and Metrics; Mathematical Methods; Society;


Baldiga, Katherine A., and Jerry R. Green. "Assent-maximizing Social Choice." Social Choice and Welfare 40, no. 2 (February 2013): 439–460.