A re-characterization of the Kemeny distance

Burak Can*, Ton Storcken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The well-known swap distance (Kemeny, 1959; Kendall, 1938 and Hamming, 1950) is analyzed. On weak preferences, this function was characterized by Kemeny (1959) with five conditions; metric, betweenness, neutrality, reducibility, and normalization. We show that the same result can be achieved without the reducibility condition, which shows the Kemeny distance is much less demanding than it seems. We provide a new and logically independent characterization of the Kemeny distance and provide some insight to further analyze distance functions on preferences. (C) 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-116
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Mathematical Economics
Issue numberDecember
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Kemeny distance
  • Swap distance
  • Inversion metric
  • Preferences

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