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Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff [Arthur M Okun] on *FREE * shipping on qualifying offers. Book by Arthur M Okun. Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff (A Brookings Classic) [Arthur M. Okun, Lawrence H. Summers] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Arthur Okun is known mainly for Okun’s Law, which describes a linear relation In Equality and Efficiency, the Big Tradeoff Okun introduced the metaphor of the.

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Originally published inEquality arthud Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff okhn a very personal work from one of the most important macroeconomists of the last hundred ane. And euality new edition includes “Further Thoughts on Equality and Efficiency,” a paper published by the author two years later.

In classrooms Arthur M. Okun may be best remembered for Okun’s Law, but his lasting legacy is the respect and admiration he earned from economists, practitioners, and policymakers. Equality and Efficiency is the perfect embodiment of that legacy, valued both by professional economists and those readers with a keen interest in social policy. To his fellow economists, Okun presents messages, in the form of additional comments and select citations, in his footnotes.

To all readers, Okun presents an engaging dual theme: As Okun puts it: Institutions in a capitalist democracy prod us to get ahead of our neighbors economically after telling us to stay in line socially.

This double standard professes and pursues an egalitarian political and social system while simultaneously generating gaping disparities in economic well-being. Today, Okun’s dual theme feels incredibly prescient as we grapple with the arthurr topic of income inequality. In his foreword, Lawrence H. On what one might think of as questions of “economic philosophy,” I doubt that Okun has been improved on in the subsequent interval.

His discussion of how societies rely on rights as well as markets should be required reading for all young economists who are enamored with market solutions to all problems. Arthur Anc Okun is widely considered among the most important macroeconomists of the twentieth century. In the s he served as a senior economist, member, and, finally, as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.

Inhe cofounded, with George Perry, the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity BPEAwhich is still among the world’s most prestigious economic journals and currently boasts sixteen Esuality Prize winners among its authors. Known for his wit as well as his compassion, Okun reacted to surging inflation in the s by developing an economic indicator he dubbed the Misery Indexwhich charted the well-being of Americans by combining the unemployment rate and inflation rate.

In the years since, Okun’s idea of indexing misery has been both repurposed and refined okhn track happiness and well-being across all sorts of indicators. When Okun died unexpectedly at the age of just 51 in Marchhe was hailed as an innovative and effective policy economist who was unique in holding the respect and admiration of both academic economists and practical politicians.


Okun snd today remembered as an effective mediator between the realms of rquality theory and analysis and the development and implementation of public policy. In this realm, Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoffwith its difficult questions about the uneasy relationship between capitalism and democracy, is most certainly Okun’s masterwork.

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Buy the selected items together This item: Ships from and sold by Amazon. Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. The Economics of Inequality. Essential Microeconomics for Public Policy Analysis. Bring Back the Bureaucrats: Government New Threats to Freedom.

About the Author Arthur Melvin Okun is widely considered among the most important macroeconomists of the twentieth century. A Brookings Classic Paperback: I’d like to read this book effciiency Kindle Don’t have a Kindle? Is this feature helpful? Thank you for your feedback. Share your thoughts equaliy other customers.

Finance & Development, September – Equality and Efficiency

Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention equality and efficiency arthur okun society economics inequality political economic relevant wealth academic college country ideas income insightful thought-provoking tradeoff. Showing of 21 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews.

There was a problem filtering reviews xrthur now. Please try again later. However, even accepting this as more of an informal work than an academic work, there are some serious shortcomings in the arguments. One example off the top of my head: Granting that this was written before behavioral economics took off, the book omits almost entirely any influence of human artuhr affecting the policies he proposes. History has not been kind to some of his proposals in that regard.

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But its age, subjectivity, and average writing make this a take-it-or-leave-it for me. A book with a lot of assumptions. Okun assumes that income inequality must be extinguished. For most of the book he makes a lot of character assumptions but at the end he actually really ties things together.

This was my feeling at the end of the book- Capitalism is by far the most superior economic system we have. Never the less, there will be inefficiencies. We have an opportunity to save capitalism in the popular view by taking from the ultra rich who really CAN deal with the loss of a portion of their wealth and distribute it to the poor. This would show the world that we can create incredible amounts of wealth and use the excess to lift up the financially down trodden. Balanced, insightful, more relevant than ever more than 40 years later.


Okun argues persuasively that we need to use the dynamics of a market economy to generate growth, but to embed markets in a reasonable framework of laws and regulations to ensure provision of basic public goods, check abuses, curb inequality, and preserve competition. As the French say, we should want to have a market economy, but not a market society.

I love this short book and re-read it every 5 years or so. I would recommend any one interested in the social sciences to have a copy of this book in their library. I always wondered why Arthur Okun did not author more books, and then I realized etficiency, sadly, he passed away at a relatively early age. Okun was a master of analogies. His magnum efgiciency in this arena was: Some of it will simply disappear in transit, so the poor will not receive all the money that is taken from the rich”.

Okun clarifies the issues surrounding the tradeoff between equality and efficiency, rather than taking a firm position on the issue of how much society should exchange one for the other. Was rather hoping for a more spirited point-of-view than this highly-academic elucidation of the issue. Reading this will illustrate just how extreme the Republican party has moved since the book’s original publication in the mid’s.

Inequality is not new but it was much less extreme when this book was written. In looking at the numbers you must keep in mind when this was written. One person found this helpful. In anr and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff” Arthur Okun explains why both the state and the market is needed for an equitable and efficient society. The fourth arthr explains the famous “leaky bucket” analogy that so many professors like.

Given the current situation fquality our country the elimination of poverty is within our grasp. Okun has two central themes: The Market needs a place 2. The market needs to be kept in it’s place. Sheds considerable light on A classic on the subject. Sheds considerable light on today’s obsession with inequality.

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