Public Choice

, Volume 158, Issue 3–4, pp 297–310 | Cite as

Empirical social choice: an introduction

  • Peter Kurrild-KlitgaardEmail author


The year 2012 was the 30th anniversary of William H. Riker’s modern classic Liberalism against populism (1982) and is marked by the present special issue. In this introduction, we seek to identify some core elements and evaluate the current status of the Rikerian research program and its empirical applications. Special attention is given to three phenomena and their possible empirical manifestations: The instability of social choice in the form of (1) the possibility of majority cycles, (2) the non-robustness of social choices given alternative voting methods, and (3) the possibility of various forms of manipulation of the decisions (heresthetics). These topics are then connected to the contributions to the current special issue.


Social choice Condorcet’s Paradox Voting theory Voting paradoxes Preferences Heresthetics 



I am grateful to Steve Brams, Bernie Grofman, Iain McLean, Mike Munger and Gordon Tullock for many enlightening discussions on these topics over the years and to Bill Shughart for helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. of Political ScienceUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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