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Journal Articles Mathematical Social Sciences Year : 2021

Is the preference of the majority representative ?


We show that a majoritarian relation is, among all conceivable binary relations, the most representative of the profile of preferences from which it emanates. We define “the most representative” to mean that it minimizes the sum of distances between itself and the preferences in the profile for a given distance function. We identify a necessary and sufficient condition for such a distance to always be minimized by a majoritarian relation. This condition requires the distance to be additive with respect to a plausible notion of compromise between preferences. The well-known Kemeny distance does satisfy this property, along with many others. All distances that satisfy this property can be written as a sum of strictly positive weights assigned to the ordered pairs of alternatives by which any two preferences differ.

Dates and versions

hal-03545861 , version 1 (27-01-2022)



Mihir Bhattacharya, Nicolas Gravel. Is the preference of the majority representative ?. Mathematical Social Sciences, 2021, 114, pp.87-94. ⟨10.1016/j.mathsocsci.2021.04.001⟩. ⟨hal-03545861⟩
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