13 November 2015

Arrow's Impossibility Theorem Strikes 3rd Circuit Appellate Ruling

A three way split in a 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals anti-trust case has caused Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, which states that some mixes of individual preferences leave the group's voting preference ill defined, (or some close cousin of it) has reared its ugly head, making it hard to figure out who should win and lose under the circumstances.
This case presents what academic literature terms a “voting paradox.” On the one hand, two judges (Judge Greenberg and I) believe that the outcome should be that Hanover’s suit not proceed, though we do so for different reasons. However, one majority of this Court (Judges Fuentes and Greenberg) believes that Hanover has antitrust standing (I do not because I do not discern antitrust injury), while another majority (Judge Fuentes and I) believes that Hanover should survive Village’s motion to dismiss (assuming it has antitrust standing). The paradox is that, if I vote on the judgment of this case (affirm or reverse) based on my individual views, a majority of the Court will have ruled against the prevailing party on each relevant issue, meaning that our Court’s reasoning would not support its judgment. However, if I follow, despite my dissent, Judge Fuentes and Greenberg on the antitrust standing issue, my individual vote would be inconsistent with my view of who should win were I alone ruling.
He chooses to vote by issue rather than by outcome. The full decision is here.

No comments: