Hannu Nurmi

Title : Re-examining the foundations of voting theory

Abstract : The theory of voting is built on the social choice theory. The latter, in turn, is based on a notion of voter as a utility maximizer. For reasons of incomparability of the utility values of different individuals the utilities are typically measured on an ordinal scale. We shall discuss the nature of some well-known results of the social choice theory and comment on the significance of them from the view-point of institution design. Particular emphasis is paid to the incompatibilities of various social choice desiderata. Given that all voting procedures are associated with some serious flaws, is it possible to design opinion aggregation systems in a context-regarding manner, i.e. taking into account the environment where the procedure is to be applied? This possibility invokes the notions of the difficulty of constructing examples, the frequency of criterion violations and the plausibility of the ordinal utility maximizing individual.   

Biography : Hannu Nurmi was the Associate Professor of Methodology of Social Sciences in University of Turku 1974 - 1995. Thereafter he became the chair holder of Political Science in the same university until his retirement in 2012. During the academic year 1972-73 he was a Fulbright-Hayes Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University. In 1978 Nurmi held a British Academy Wolfson
Fellowship at University of Essex and from 1991 till 1996 he was the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences in University of Turku. In 1998 he was a Visiting Professor at University of Minnesota. Nurmi was nominated the Academy Professor of Academy of Finland for the period 2003-2008. He is a member of Academia Scientiarum Fennica (the Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters) from 1982. From 2008 till 2011 he was the Director of Centre of Excellence in Public Choice Research of University of Turku. From 2012 he is Professor Emeritus in the same university. Nurmi's research interests include the theory of voting and electoral systems, applied game theory and causal modeling. List of scientific publications: http://users.utu.fi/hnurmi/