10502 Social Preference and Choice 1

Credits: 3 advanced credits in Economics

Prerequisites: 36 credits, including Introduction to Microeconomics, Calculus for Students of Economics and Management, and Price Theory I. Students must also fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.

Recommended: Price Theory II, Price Theory III

Author: Shmuel Nitzan

The course presents the major problems associated with the notions of social preference and social choice.

The first part of the course deals with three topics: The reasons for the difficulty in transforming individual preferences or choices into social ones; A brief survey of the problems on which the course focuses; Clarification of the relationship between preference and choice.

The main part of the course examines the following questions: Is "social preference" a meaningful notion? What is the desirable rule for making collective decisions? Can voting result in paradoxical outcomes? How can the problem of majority tyranny be resolved? Is social choice (in the context of public good provision) efficient? Do individuals reveal their true preferences? In uncertain dichotomous choice situations, which is the preferred rule: simple majority rule or expert rule? And what is the optimal decision rule?

1Students may write a seminar paper in this course, although it is not required.