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God does not play dice, but people should: random selection in politics, science and society

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  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Lasse Steiner

Abstract

This paper discusses and proposes random selection as a component in decision-making in society. Random procedures have played a significant role in history, especially in classical Greece and the medieval city-states of Italy. We examine the important positive features of decisions by random Mechanisms. Random processes allow representativeness with respect to individuals and groups. They significantly reduce opportunities to influence political decisions by means of bribery and corruption and decrease the large expenses associated with today’s democratic election campaigns. Random mechanisms can be applied fruitfully to a wide range of fields, including politics, the judiciary, the economy, science and the cultural sector. However, it is important that random selection processes are embedded in appropriately designed institutions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics - University of Zurich in its series ECON - Working Papers with number 144.

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Date of creation: Mar 2014
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Handle: RePEc:zur:econwp:144

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Keywords: Random selection; lot; democracy; representativeness; corruption;

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  1. William Niskanen, 2012. "Gordon Tullock’s contribution to bureaucracy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 152(1), pages 97-101, July.
  2. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  3. David N. Laband & Robert D. Tollison, 2003. "Dry Holes in Economic Research," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 161-173, 05.
  4. Bruno Frey & Paolo Pamini & Lasse Steiner, 2013. "Explaining the World Heritage List: an empirical study," International Review of Economics, Springer, vol. 60(1), pages 1-19, March.
  5. Matthew Spiegel, 2012. "Reviewing Less--Progressing More," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 25(5), pages 1331-1338.
  6. Intriligator, Michael D, 1973. "A Probabilistic Model of Social Choice," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(4), pages 553-60, October.
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