Commentary & Analysis

Interview with Dr. Kenneth Arrow

By Aaron Hamlin

We have the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Kenneth Arrow. Dr. Arrow is a professor emeritus at Stanford University. He is best known in the voting theory world for his impossibility theorem, for which he won the nobel prize in economics in 1972.
His theorem stated that no ranked method given three options could fulfill all of the following:

  1. A dictator must not be able to decide the result unilaterally
  2. Ranking a choice as better must never hurt that choice.
  3. If every voter prefers one choice to another, then the voting method must prefer the voters’ preferred choice.
  4. A choice being removed must not change the relative rankings of the remaining choices.

We talk about the downfalls of plurality voting, how to evaluate voting methods, and the state of scholarship on voting methods. You can find our full interview in our podcasts section here.