Master Classes: Wednesday, 26th May

AHRC-sponsored master classes in the LSE Choice Group

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Nicholas Baigent (Graz and LSE)

"Topological Social Choice"

Nicholas Baigent is a Professor at the Institute of Public Economics at Graz University and a Visiting Professor at the LSE. His main research interest is group and individual choice theory. He is also interested in game theoretic models of the family and philosophy (personal identity, ethics and rationality).

Abstract.  There are two objectives. The first one is to give a genuinely elementary introduction to the formal tools and techniques used in this area of research for which no prerequisites are assumed. This will be done in the first two classes. The second objective is to present all of the major results together with a critical discussion. This will be done in the Choice Group Seminar.


Wednesday, 26th May (Venue: T206, Lakatos Building)

13.30-14.45  Topological methods in social choice l

Linear preferences and circles; simple mathematics of circles; social welfare functions; continuity; loops in circles; degree and homotopy; and the fundamental equation of topological social choice theory.

Short Break

15.00-16.15  Topological methods in social choice lI

Contractibility; holes in sets; Fundamental Groups of circles and Cartesian products of circles; covering of a set; nerve of a cover; topological formulation of Arrow's theorem (time permitting).

Coffee Break

17.30-19.00  Choice Group Seminar Talk: Topological Social Choice Theory   

Major results; gaps and problems in the literature; discussion and conclusions.

More detailed information can be found here|.


Please register by sending an email to c.heilmann @


No prior reading will be assumed. Indeed, the presentations should lower the barriers to entry into topological social choice theory. There are only two papers at this level of exposition in the literature. They are:

N. Baigent (2010): "Topological Theories of Social Choice|" Forthcoming in "Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare: volume 2", eds. Arrow, K.J., A.K. Sen and K. Suzumura, K.; published by Elsevier. (The master class will follow this survey quite closely.)

Heal, G.M. (1997): "Social Choice and Resource Allocation: a topological perspective", in G. Heal (ed), Topological social choice, Springer, Heidelberg, 87-97. (This book is also available as a special issue of Social Choice and Welfare (1997)).

Further Information

The master classes are organized by the LSE Choice Group and sponsored by the AHRC. The LSE Choice Group| is a group of people based for the most part at the LSE with a shared interest in the theory of rational decision making in individuals and groups and its application to economic, political and social questions. We hold regular seminars on Wednesday afternoons from 17-30 to 19-00 in T206 (2nd floor, Lakatos Building, Portugal Street. Please email c.heilmann @ if you are interested in regular updates on seminars and events.


The LSE Choice Group is supported by the LSE Annual Fund and the AHRC|: