Date of Submission


Date of Award


Institute Name (Publisher)

Indian Statistical Institute

Document Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Subject Name

Quantitative Economics


Economics and Planning Unit (EPU-Delhi)


Sen, Arunava (EPU-Delhi; ISI)

Abstract (Summary of the Work)

The purpose of this thesis is to explore some issues in social choice theory and decision theory. Social choice theory provides the theoretical foundations for the field of public choice and welfare economics. It tries to bring together normative aspects like perspective value judgements and positive aspects, like strategic con- siderations. The second feature which is our focus, is closely related to the problem of providing appropriate incentives to agents, an issue of prime importance in eco- nomics.Consider for example, a set of agents who must elect one among a set of can- didates. These candidates may be physical agents or they may be issues such as various economic policies. A voting institution may be thought of as a procedure which selects an outcome or candidate for every profile of voter preferences over candidates. It has long been recognized that a voting institution will typically offer opportunities for some voters to behave strategically. A situation may arise where some voter may find it in his best interest to vote for a candidate other than his most preferred one for doing so changes the final outcome favourably for him. Let us consider a second example. Suppose there is a set of agents whose members are to be matched to members of a second, disjoint set of agents all of whom have references over the possible resulting matches. Examples include matching stu- dents with universities, men with women, workers with firms etc. Agents report their preferences over possible mates and are then matched to a mate according to some procedure. Here too situations may arise where some agent may find it in his/her best interest to misreport his/her preference. Incentives problems of this nature are pervasive in economic contexts.The first two chapters of the thesis are concerned with mechanism design issues in two different settings. Chapter 2 considers the classical strategic voting model where a voters preference ordering over a set of candidates is private informa- tion. Chapter 3 considers the familiar two-sided matching model where an agents preference over his/her possible mates is private information. In both models the central issue is the design of mechanisms or procedures which provide appropriate incentives for agents to reveal their private information truthfully. In the matching model, an additional objective is to ensure that outcomes are always stable. There is an extensive literature pertaining to these issues where attention is focused on mechanisms where agents have dominant strategy incentives to tell the truth. This requirement is strong; as a consequence most results are negative. In these two essays we explore the implications of weakening the truth-telling requirement to ordinal Bayesian incentive compatibility.A notion that appears frequently in social choice theory is Maskin-monotonicity. A social choice function satisfies this axiom if it is monotonic with respect to an alternative which improves in a voters preference ordering. Not only is this axiom normatively appealing but also the key to some important strategic properties. Moreover, it has been shown that if the domain of preferences is unrestricted, Maskin-monotonicity is equivalent to the property of strategy-proofness which in turn implies that these properties are equivalent to dictatorship.


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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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