The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd


  • Douglas Blair
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 x1, x2, …, xn is it true that x1Px2, x2Px3,…,xn−1Pxn, and xnPx1. 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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Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglas Blair
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