Since World War II the subject of social choice has grown in many and surprising ways. The impossibility theorems have suggested many directions: mathematical characterisations of voting structures satisfying various sets of conditions, the consequences of restricting choice to certain domaines, the relation to competitive equilibrium and the core, and trade-offs among the partial satisfactions of some conditions. The links with classical and modern theories of justice and, in particular, the competing ideas of rights and utilitarianism have shown the power of formal social choice analysis in illuminating the most basic philosophical arguments about the good social life. Finally, the ideals of the just society meet with the play of self interest; social choice mechanisms can lend themselves to manipulation, and the analysis of conditions under which given ideals can be realised under self interest is a political parallel to the welfare economics of the market. The contributors to these volumes focus on these issues at the forefront of current research.
KENNETH J. ARROW is Joan Kennedy Professor of Economics Emeritus and Professor of Operations Research Emeritus at Stanford University. He has been President of the American Economic Association and the International Economic Association and has received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science. AMARTYA SEN is Lamont University Professor at Harvard University, and also Professor of Economics and Philosophy there. Previously he was the Drummond Professor of Political Economy at Oxford and, earlier, Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, Delhi University and Jadavpur University. His publications include Collective Choice and Social Welfare; Choice; Welfare and Measurement; Poverty and Famines; On Ethics and Economics; and Inequality Reexamined, among others. He is past president of the Econometric Society, the International Economic Association, the Indian Economic Association and the American Economic Association. KOTARO SUZUMURA is Professor of Economic Systems Analysis at the Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University. He has taught at the London School of Economics, Stanford University, the Australian National University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of British Columbia and, intermittently, at Kyoto University. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society and Chief Editor of the Japanese Economic Review. He has published widely in professional journals including American Economic Review, Economica, Economic Theory, International Economic Review, the Journal of Economic Theory, the Journal of Public Economics and the Review of Economic Studies in the area of social choice, welfare economics and theoretical industrial organisation. He is also the author of Rational Choice, Collective Decisions and Social Welfare and Competition, Commitment and Welfare and is co-author of Economic Analysis of Industrial Policy.