University of Kansas, Fall 2006
Philosophy 666: Rational Choice Theory

Preview of test on social choice theory

The test will be given during the officially scheduled final-exam period on Wednesday, December 13. This two-and-a-half-hour period starts at 10:30 a.m., but we will use only the first 50 minutes of it, with the test being given from 10:30 a.m. to 11:20 a.m. You do not need to bring anything, except for something to write with; this will be a closed-book, closed-notes test, and you will be provided with paper on which to write your answers. At the beginning of the testing period, the following instructions will be written on the board:
  1. Please put away everything except for something to write with.
  2. This test may be graded on a curve.
  3. Please number each of your 10 answers conspicuously.

Also, you will be asked to close and/or put away all books, notebooks, newspapers, calculators, computers, cell phones, and other possible sources of inappropriate aid. The instructions at the top of the test will read as follows:

  1. Answer all of the following questions on the answer sheets provided. You can write on this list of questions, but credit will be awarded only for answers written on answer sheets.
  2. Do not access any book, notebook, newspaper, calculator, computer, cell phone, or other possible source of inappropriate aid during the test, do not leave the room before you are finished taking the test, and be sure to finish the test within this 50-minute testing period—no credit will be given for any work done after you access any possible source of inappropriate aid, after you leave the room for any reason, or after the end of the testing period.
  3. When you are finished, be sure your name is written on each of your answer sheets, and turn them in. You do not need to turn in this list of questions.

Then there will be 10 questions of equal weight.

  1. Each of questions 1–6 will be a yes-or-no question or a multiple-choice question about one of the six conditions on social welfare functions that we discussed.
  2. Questions 7 and 8 will be about majority rule and the Condorcet cycle (also known as—and referred to by Resnik as—the voting paradox).
  3. Question 9 will be a big-picture question about the proof of Arrow’s theorem.
  4. Question 10 will be a fine-grained question about how to prove one of the seven cases covered by the proof of the claim that a citizen who is almost decisive for some pair of alternatives is decisive for every pair of alternatives.

If you would like to have your test returned to you after I grade it, please bring to the final-exam period a 9-by-12-inch envelope bearing your address and adequate postage. (You should be fine with $1.11 of postage—for which three 39-cent stamps would suffice—unless you might use more than 17 answer sheets, in which case your envelope will probably end up weighing more than the 4 ounces for which $1.11 is adequate. Add 24 cents for each additional five answer sheets or so.) If you have a mailbox in the Philosophy department office and you do not provide me with an envelope, I will put your graded test in your mailbox. Tests can also be picked up during the spring semester; any tests I still have in my possession as of July 1, 2007 may be discarded then or afterwards.