Election Methods To Be Subject Of Institute Lecture

Election Methods To Be Subject Of Institute Lecture

Eric S. Maskin, the Albert O. Hirschman Professor in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, will speak on "Is Majority Rule the Best Election Method?" on October 25 at 4:30 p.m. in Wolfensohn Hall on the Institute campus. A reception will follow the lecture.

"We are all familiar with majority voting as a method for conducting elections," Maskin observes. "But other election methods, such as rank-order voting, are also commonly used. How can we determine whether one method is ‘better’ than another?" Although it can be shown that no election method satisfies all the desiderata of a "reasonable method," according to Maskin, "There is a precise sense in which majority voting comes closest."

An economic theorist with wide-ranging interests, Maskin has studied game theory, the economics of incentives, and social choice theory; among his current projects is a comparison of electoral rules.

He received his A.B. degree in mathematics from Harvard University in 1972, and his A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in applied mathematics from Harvard in 1974 and 1976, respectively. He also holds an honorary M.A. from Cambridge University. He taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Harvard University before joining the faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study this year.

A Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Maskin is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters, as well as the editor of three books: most recently, Planning, Shortage, and Transformation (with A. Simonovits, MIT Press, 2000).

Maskin’s talk is one of a series of public lectures presented by the Institute for Advanced Study throughout the year.