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Some Problems of Infinite Regress in Social-Choice Models: A Category Theory Solution


In modern Western democracies, economic and political institutions often have been criticized on moral grounds. The arguments pinpoint the resulting inequalities and inefficiencies as the evidence of these institutions' inadequacy to provide justice. However, evaluating institutions in retrospect (ex post), by contrasting their ex-post resource allocation with other allocations known to be feasible ex post, is misleading. Social decisions must be made under conditions of uncertainty. Hence, institutions must be evaluated before the uncertainty is resolved (ex ante), i.e., according to their expected performance, as delimited by the information available at the time decisions are made. So an institution can be condemned only if an alternative one exists yielding preferable outcomes (by any measure to be decided upon) under the same ex-ante information set.


Suggested citation: Alameddine, Fadi, 1990. “Some Problems of Infinite Regress in Social-Choice Models: A Category Theory Solution,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper no. 90-16.

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