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A note on measuring preference structuration

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The concept of preference structuration not only provides possible escape-routes from social-choice-theoretic impossibility problems, but also points towards ways of formalizing notions of 'pluralism', 'consensus' and 'issue-dimensionality'. The present note introduces two methods of (operationally) measuring preference structuration, giving attention to both their conceptual characteristics and their computational feasibility. The method to be advocated, called the 'fractionalization' approach, combines well-known social-choice-theoretic criteria of preference structuration (such as single-peakedness or value-restriction) with the frequently used Rae-Taylor (1970) and Laakso-Taagepera (1979) approaches towards measuring the level of fractionalization, and the effective number of components, in a system.

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