Microeconomics Research Seminar Series, Summer Term 2021
16:00 - 17:30
Lectures, talks and seminars
Microeconomics Research Seminar Series
Economics, Department of
Join Sandro Ambuehl as they present their research on The Will of the People: How do Individuals Aggregate Ordinal Preferences?
Sandro Ambuehl from the Department of Economics, at University of Zurich will present their paper on The Will of the People: How do Individuals Aggregate Ordinal Preferences?
Arrow’s famous impossibility result shows that there is no single best rule for aggregating ordinal preferences. Yet, in domains ranging from political economy to market design, preference aggregation problems abound, raising the question of how individuals believe normatively appealing aggregation should occur. We ask how individuals make preference aggregation decisions—what do the people think is the will of the people? In our experiment, individuals in the role of Social Architects make a choice for a group they are not part of, knowing only group members’ ordinal preferences over the alternatives, in two contexts: assigning tasks to workers, and donating money to a political party. We find that the vast majority of Social Architects aggregate ordinal preferences like utilitarians, after imputing cardinal utility information from ordinal rankings. Subjects find little appeal in IIA conditions, in the celebrated Condorcet pairwise majority rule, or in any other procedures that require ignoring information about preference intensity. Multi-stage procedures, which are frequently used in the political domain, also find vanishing empirical support. Using a clustering method, we show that subjects do not systematically employ any aggregation procedure outside the set of rules we consider. Our results also fill a gap in the literature on other-regarding preferences which exclusively considers cardinally comparable outcomes.
This seminar will be held via zoom on Thursday 3rd June at 4pm. This event is open to all levels of study and is also open to the public. To register your place and gain access to the webinar, please contact the seminar organisers.
This event is part of the Microeconomics Research Seminar Series.
DrDepartment of Economics, University of Zurich
Sandro has been at the University of Zurich since 2020, having previously been at University of Toronto. His key research areas are Behavioral Experimental Economics, Behavioral and Experimental Finance, Repugnant Transactions, Rational Inattention.