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Rights and Game Forms, Types of Preference Orderings, and Pareto Inefficiency

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Gaertner, Pattanaik and Suzumura (GPS) have recently put forward a critique of Sen’s formulation of individual rights. They argue that his preference-based approach does not adequately capture our intuition about certain categories of individual rights. The alternative formulation which is proposed is in terms of normal game forms. The present paper deals with two issues. The first one is to explore the logical relationships between the intuitive conception of GPS and Sen’s notion of minimal liberty as well as between the GPS formulation and a concept proposed by Gibbard. It is shown that GPS’s and Gibbard’s conceptions are logically independent while the GPS formulation implies Sen’s conception only in rather special cases. The second issue is to link the occurrence of Pareto inefficient outcomes within the game form formulation to impossibility and possibility results within the preference-based formulation of rights.


  • Nash Equilibrium
  • Social Choice
  • Dominant Strategy
  • Game Form
  • Conditional Preference

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Parts of this paper were presented at Bonn’s public finance seminar and at Wolfgang Eichhorn’s famous “Bastelseminar”. I am grateful for the comments which I received from the participants of both seminar meetings. For many stimulating discussions on individual rights and social choice, I am greatly indebted to Prasanta Pattanaik, John Riley, Amartya Sen and Kotaro Suzumura.

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© 1993 Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg

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Gaertner, W. (1993). Rights and Game Forms, Types of Preference Orderings, and Pareto Inefficiency. In: Diewert, W.E., Spremann, K., Stehling, F. (eds) Mathematical Modelling in Economics. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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