A1 Journal article – refereed
Plurality, approval, or Borda? A nineteenth century dispute on voting rules.

List of Authors: Eerik Lagerspetz
Publisher: Springer
Publication year: 2016
Journal: Public Choice
Volume number: 168
Issue number: 3-4
Number of pages: 13
eISSN: 1573-7101


Abstract: According to
the oft-repeated story, the theory of social choice was invented by the eighteenth-century
French mathematicians:  Borda. Condorcet,
and Laplace. After their contributions, the subject is said to have fallen into
oblivion. The aim of this article is to challenge this narrative by reviewing a
nineteenth century discussion on the merits of different voting rules.  In that discussion the social choice results
had a central role. The participants in the heated dispute were both professors
at the University of Helsinki: Lorenz Lindelöf (1827-1908) was the Professor of
Mathematics, a noted mathematician and statistician, while Johan Wilhelm
Snellman (1806-1881) was the Professor of Philosophy and the unofficial
intellectual leader of the Finnish national movement. Many of the arguments
used by them also appear in modern treatments of social choice theory. Such
basic anomalies of social choice as the Borda paradox, the Condorcet paradox,
path-dependence, and strategic voting figured in the discussion.

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Last updated on 2019-29-01 at 12:04