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Social Choice and Judicial Decision Making

Social choice theory studies the differences between individual and group (or social) decision making and the implications of these differences for the structure and outputs of institutions. Social choice begins with the insight that while it is reasonable to assume as a condition of rationality that individuals hold transitive preference orderings (A preferred to B preferred to C implies that A is preferred to C), this assumption cannot be extended to groups of three or more when they are selecting among three or more options. Three people, each holding the following transitive preference orderings (P1: ABC; P2: BCA; P3: CAB), will reveal a collective intransitivity, or cycle, if they vote sincerely in the three possible direct binary comparisons. Thus, while P1 and P3 prefer A ...

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