Intensity of preference

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Intensity of preference, also known as intensity preference,[1] is a term popularized by the work of the economist Kenneth Arrow, who was a co-recipient of the 1972 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. This term is used in reference to models for aggregating ordinal rankings.

This term is used in economics, politics, marketing, management science and other areas in which methods to derive the consensus ranking are developed.[2]

In an analysis of voting, for example, the intensity of preference is a measure of an individual voter's (or group of voters') willingness to incur the costs or inconvenience of the act of officially registering a preferential choice at the time and place required, not the vote itself.[3]

Social choices[edit]

The "intensity" of preference can be a factor in aggregating individual choices into social choices.[4]

Independence of irrelevant alternatives "... does not rule out "intensity" of preference in making social choices.
(1) "It is part of our definition of a social choice rule/function that the choices are based only on the information in a profile of ordinal preference relations.
(2) "These preference relations do not contain any intensity information that could be used by social choice rules, whether or not they violate the independence axiom."[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harvey, Charles M. "Aggregation of individuals' preference intensities into social preference intensity," Social Choice and Welfare, January 1999, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 65-79; retrieved 2012-12-12.
  2. ^ Cook, Wade D. and Moshe Kress, "Ordinal Ranking with Intensity of Preference," Management Science (US), Vol. 31, No. 1 (Jan., 1985), pp. 26-32.
  3. ^ Arrow, Kenneth J. (1963). Social Choice and Individual Values, p. 114., p. 114, at Google Books
  4. ^ a b Tulane University: "Proof of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem," citing J. Kelly, Social Choice Theory: An Introduction


External links[edit]