Social Choice Theory – Definition

Cite this article as:"Social Choice Theory – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated January 14, 2020, last accessed October 26, 2020,

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Social Choice Theory Definition

The social choice theory studies the processes and procedures entailed in making a collective decision. This is an economic theory that analyzes individual interests, opinions and preferences and how they affect collective outputs and decisions. The social spice theory was developed in 1951 by an Economist Kenneth Arrow. This theory is a combination of economic models derived from the aggregation of individual judgments, inputs, preferences, and interests in arriving at collective decisions and judgments.

A Little More on What is Social Choice Theory

The social choice theory was developed and published in Kenneth Arrow’s book; Social Choice and Individual Values in 1951. This theory considers how and whether an aggregate of individual choices, preferences, judgments, and opinions serves as a criterion for collective judgments and decisions. Hence, for a rule to be considered as a ‘good rule’, are decisions, opinions, and judgments of individuals factored in?.

According to Kenneth Arrow, a democratic society must reflect the choices and judgments of individuals when developing a  role. The economist proposed five criteria that collective our society’s choices must meet before they can reflect the preferences of individuals. They are;

  • Universality
  • Non-imposition
  • Non-dictatorship
  • Responsiveness
  • Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives.

References for “Social Choice Theory › Investing › Financial Analysis

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