mathematically such issues as how well individual voters’ different views about candidates and issues are reflected in an election outcome. In what is now called the Arrow impossibility (or possibility) theorem, he postulated that when certain reasonable conditions of fairness are imposed, it is impossible for a voting system to accurately reflect societal preferences. Mainstreameconomists tend to model individuals as rational. One implication is that preferences are transitive—meaning, for example, that voters who prefer candidate Smith to Jones and Jones to Williams will
income has a meaningful influence on the distribution of opportunity, on the mechanics of the business cycle, and on the pace of innovation. Inequality also distorts public policy, increasing the power of rent-collecting elites and of those seeking aid, while attenuating the sense of shared purpose necessary for public investment in education, infrastructure, and research.
For decades, mainstreameconomists argued that efforts to address inequality through redistributive policies would come at the expense of growth—what Arthur Okun called “The Big Tradeoff.” But one