Kenneth Arrow, a 1972 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences who has held faculty positions in economics at the Universities of Chicago, Harvard, and Stanford (with most of his career spent at the last institution), is one of the most important social scientists of the post-WWII era. While social choice theory is only one of his many research interests, and Arrow would still be a towering figure, famous for his work on general equilibrium models, models of risk and uncertainty, information economics, health economics, etc., even if he had never written Social Choice and Individual Values (1951, revised edition 1963), it is this seminal book on which this essay will focus.

Social Choice and Individual Values was Arrow’s 1951 doctoral dissertation in economics at Columbia, and published that same year by the Cowles Foundation, then located at the University of Chicago. Reprinted and continuously in print for well over 50 years, and continuing to be among the most highly cited publications in economics, it has spawned a vast and still growing literature. Any scholar in constitutional political economy must come to grips with its key results and the mathematical structure of its arguments.


Social Choice Vote Rule Social Welfare Function American Political Science Review Social Choice Theory 
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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard Grofman
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California at IrvineIrvine

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