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Social Choice and Voting Methods (M.Sc.)

  • Field: Markets and Institutions
  • Lecture: Wednesday, 12:00-13:30, Philosophikum, room S 85
    Lecture starts 08.04.2015
  • Tutorial: Thursday, 10:00 - 11:30, Philosophikum, room S 85
    Tutorial starts 16.04.2015
  • Tutorial and lecture will alternate in a block fashion.
  • Exam: 17.07.2015


How can individual preferences, opinions or decisions be transformed into a consistent social, collective view that respects some minimum basic values shared by all society members? Social Choice Theory is a theoretical framework that studies the aggregation of individual decisions into collective decisions in such a manner that certain desirable, normative conditions are not violated. In practice, we can observe many different aggregation rules each providing a different approach to solve this problem. As the large variety of approaches might suggest, and as we will see in the course of the lecture, the question above cannot be answered easily. The topics covered in the course are as follows:

  1. Foundations of Democracy: Condorcet Jury theorem
  2. The Two-Alternative Case: May's Theorem
  3. Why There Is no Perfect Method: Arrow's Theorem
  4. Manipulability: The Gibbard-Satterthwaite Theorem
  5. A Particular Voting Method: Borda Count
  6. An Interesting Alternative: Approval Voting 


  • WULF GAERTNER, "A primer in Social Choice Theory", Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • A. MAS-COLELL, M.D WHINSTON, J.R. GREEN, "Microeconomic Theory", CHAPTER 22, Oxford University Press, 1995.