Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 35, Issue 4, pp 669–685 | Cite as

Essential alternatives and freedom rankings

Original Paper


We study the problem of ranking opportunity sets in terms of freedom of choice. The analysis is based on the notion of essential alternatives introduced in Puppe (J Econ Theory 68:174–199, 1996). An alternative in an opportunity set is called essential if by deleting it, the reduced opportunity set offers less freedom than the original set. We provide an axiomatic characterization of the ranking according to which an opportunity set offers more freedom than another opportunity set if its share of essential elements in their union is larger.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and Business EngineeringKarlsruhe Institute of TechnologyKarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.Department of Economics, Andrew Young School of Policy StudiesGeorgia State UniversityAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.School of Public Finance and TaxationSouthwestern University of Finance and TaxationChengduChina

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