Improving Group Decision Making

post by June Ku · 2020-01-24T01:29:56.587Z · score: 6 (5 votes) · LW · GW · 2 comments

This is a link post for

This was a talk at Effective Altruism Global (London 2019) by Mahendra Prasad. It's a non-technical introduction to the ideas in his working paper [LW · GW] I previously posted. It also covers some additional ground. For instance, from Republican polling data, we can see the difference voting methods can make with Trump in first place in plurality voting vs last place with approval voting. Towards the end, there's also a sketch of a research program applying algorithmic game theory to better understand and improve the background conditions of multiagent systems like deliberative democracy.


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comment by Jameson Quinn (jameson-quinn) · 2020-01-24T02:24:03.089Z · score: 7 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

I'm glad to see that EA is engaging with social choice theory. But I don't find this paper particularly interesting. To me, it centers on the sleight-of-hand redefinition of Approval voting into "UNV", which is basically just "approval voting, but we assume the ballots are full expressions of the voters' preferences". That redefinition is necessary to cram approval into the procrustean bed of the Arrovian axioms; but to me, if the axioms don't fit a method without such ridiculous assumptions, we should find new axioms.

This is probably not the place for a more-lengthy engagement with these ideas and/or an attempt to situate them within my larger vision of the state of social choice theory. But I'd be interested to talk to Prasad, especially if I get the grant I've sought to pursue voting theory research over the next months.

comment by Mahendra Prasad (mahendra-prasad) · 2020-01-24T05:34:55.749Z · score: 6 (4 votes) · LW(p) · GW(p)

Hi Jameson. Thank you for your comments on my paper. That paper, which was drafted in that version back in 2017, basically makes a reductio ad absurdum argument. It says, let us make, more or less, all the assumptions that William H. Riker and Arrow made about voting systems. What the paper basically contends is that even if we make those assumptions, we still effectively get approval voting as majority rule, which is a non-Arrovian voting system. In a future draft of the paper, I am hoping to elaborate more on non-Arrovian voting systems.