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Introduction to Social Choice Theory

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In a recent referendum, the British public was asked to choose between Alternative Vote and Plurality Voting (also inaccurately named “First Past The Post”). However, these are not the only voting systems. What other options are there, and how can we choose between them? In this lecture, I will introduce certain mathematical properties which we might want a voting system to satisfy (such as the Condorcet Criterion and the Participation Criterion), as well as some impossibility theorems which show that not all such criteria can be satisfied at the same time. I will also describe two voting systems which display many desirable properties: Ranked Pairs and Approval Voting.

This talk is part of the Research Students Lecture Series series.

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