Table of Contents

Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume III

Handbook on the History of Economic Analysis Volume III

Developments in Major Fields of Economics

Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz

Volume III contains entries on the development of major fields in economics from the inception of systematic analysis until modern times. The reader is provided with succinct summary accounts of the main problems, the methods used to address them and the results obtained across time. The emphasis is on both the continuity and the major changes that have occurred in the economic analysis of problematic issues such as economic growth, income distribution, employment, inflation, business cycles and financial instability. Each Handbook can be read individually and acts as a self-contained volume in its own right. It can be purchased separately or as part of a three-volume set.

Chapter 36: Social choice

Maurice Salles

Subjects: economics and finance, history of economic thought


Social choice in its modern guise is a young subject that can be dated back to the end of the 1940s and the beginning of the 1950s in the works of Duncan Black (1948), Kenneth Arrow (1950, 1951) and Georges-Théodule Guilbaud (1952). This is nowadays considered as a rebirth, the (first) birth being generally attributed to Jean-Charles de Borda (1784) and Marie-Jean-Antoine-Nicolas Caritat de Condorcet (1785). However, as will be clear in this entry, there are other earlier precursors. Social choice is concerned with the selection of options on the basis of the opinions of individuals over these options. Note that there is an analogy with the choice by an individual of, say, an object, in the presence of multiple criteria. However, this entry is restricted to the multi-individual framework. The selection procedures have been studied either from a rather abstract point of view or from a more practical point of view. In the former, one considers notions such as aggregation functions, social choice functions and their properties, and in the latter one considers voting rules, voting games, and so on. It is interesting to note that this dichotomy has a historical origin, the abstract aspect being generally associated with the utilitarian tradition from Jeremy Bentham to Abram Bergson and Paul Samuelson, and with welfare economics and the practical aspect being associated with questions related to elections, be they elections in small committees or in larger organizations.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information