The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

Living Edition
| Editors: Matias Vernengo, Esteban Perez Caldentey, Barkley J. Rosser Jr


  • Douglas Blair
Living reference work entry


Acyclicity is a consistency property of preferences and other binary relations. It requires that the asymmetric part P of the relation (e.g. the subrelation of strict preference) contain no cycles; that is, for no sequence of alternatives x 1, x 2, …, x n is it true that x 1 Px 2, x 2 Px 3,…,x n−1 Px n , and x n Px 1. The study of cyclic preferences dates at least to Condorcet’s (1785) treatment of the paradox of voting, in which transitive individual voters generate cyclic majority preferences.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas Blair
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