Computer-Aided Proofs of Arrow's and Other Impossibility Theorems

Fangzhen Lin, Pingzhong Tang

Arrow's Impossibility Theorem is one of the landmark results in social choice theory. Over the years since the theorem was proved in 1950, quite a few alternative proofs have been put forward. In this paper, we propose yet another alternative proof of the theorem. The basic idea is to use induction to reduce the theorem to the base case with 3 alternatives and 2 agents and then use computers to verify the base case. This turns out to be an effective approach for proving other impossibility theorems such as Sen's and Muller-Satterthwaite's theorems as well. Furthermore, we believe this new proof opens an exciting prospect of using computers to discover similar impossibility or even possibility results.

Subjects: 7.1 Multi-Agent Systems; 11. Knowledge Representation

Submitted: Apr 10, 2008

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