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A Pedagogical Proof of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem


In this note I consider a simple proof of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem (Arrow 1963). I start with the case of three individuals who have preferences on three alternatives. In this special case there are 133=2197 possible combinations of the three individuals' rational preferences. However, by considering the subset of linear preferences, and employing the full strength of the IIA axiom, I reduce the number of cases necessary to completely describe the SWF to a small number, allowing an elementary proof suitable for most undergraduate students.

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