Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 261–281 | Cite as

Collective choice in Aristotle

  • Adrian MiroiuEmail author
  • Catalin Partenie
Original Paper


In his Politics VI 3, 1318a–b, Aristotle discusses constitutional procedures for achieving justice in a society where its classes have different views on it. He analyzes the case of a society consisting in two groups, the poor and the rich, each holding a specific understanding of justice (democratic or oligarchic). In this paper we give, first, a non-formal summary of this section of Politics. Then we approach it in the framework of social choice theory and argue that a social rule for selecting between alternatives may be extracted from it. As Aristotle argued, this rule is consistent with the views on justice and equality of the supporters of both democracy and oligarchy. Finally, we study its properties, as well as some extensions of it when multiple classes are allowed or more than two alternatives are present.


Democracy Oligarchy Majority Weighted majority Social choice Aristotle 

JEL Classification

D70 D71 N43 



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National University of Political Studies and Public AdministrationBucharestRomania

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