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Allocation of Goods by Lottery


  • Boyce, John R


Many authors have argued that lotteries are used to allocate resources because of the fairness of the mechanism. However, a number of historical examples suggest otherwise. Participation fees are almost always charged and they are often discriminatory. In addition, goods (or bads) allocated by lotteries are usually not transferable. Both lottery participation fees and restrictions on transferability reduce rent-seeking from speculators. Each feature increases the rents to the primary user groups relative to the rents attainable from alternative mechanisms such as auctions, queues, or merit allocations. Copyright 1994 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Boyce, John R, 1994. "Allocation of Goods by Lottery," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(3), pages 457-476, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:32:y:1994:i:3:p:457-76

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eckbo, B. Espen, 1983. "Horizontal mergers, collusion, and stockholder wealth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1-4), pages 241-273, April.
    2. Ordover, Janusz A & Saloner, Garth & Salop, Steven C, 1990. "Equilibrium Vertical Foreclosure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 127-142, March.
    3. Michael A. Salinger, 1988. "Vertical Mergers and Market Foreclosure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 103(2), pages 345-356.
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    5. Klein, Benjamin & Crawford, Robert G & Alchian, Armen A, 1978. "Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents, and the Competitive Contracting Process," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 297-326, October.
    6. Allen, Bruce T, 1971. "Vertical Integration and Market Foreclosure: The Case of Cement and Concrete," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 251-274, April.
    7. Dodd, Peter, 1980. "Merger proposals, management discretion and stockholder wealth," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 105-137, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Singfat Chu, 2014. "Mitigating supply and price volatilities in Singapore’s vehicle quota system," Transportation, Springer, vol. 41(5), pages 1119-1134, September.
    2. Evans, Mary F. & Vossler, Christian A. & Flores, Nicholas E., 2009. "Hybrid allocation mechanisms for publicly provided goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 311-325, February.
    3. Scrogin, David, 2005. "Lottery-rationed public access under alternative tariff arrangements: changes in quality, quantity, and expected utility," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 189-211, July.
    4. Adrienne Ohler & Hayley Chouinard & Jonathan Yoder, 2014. "Interest group incentives for post-lottery trade restrictions," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 281-304, June.
    5. Chu, Singfat, 2012. "Allocation flexibility and price efficiency within Singapore’s Vehicle Quota System," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1541-1550.
    6. David Scrogin, 2009. "Underpricing In Public Lotteries: A Critique Of User-Pay And All-Pay Tariffs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 47(3), pages 500-511, July.
    7. Todd R. Kaplan & Shmuel Zamir, 2014. "Advances in Auctions," Discussion Papers 1405, Exeter University, Department of Economics.
    8. Ohler, Adrienne & Chouinard, Hayley H. & Yoder, Jonathan K., 2007. "Welfare Trade-offs between Transferable and Non-Transferable Lotteries," 2007 Annual Meeting, July 29-August 1, 2007, Portland, Oregon 7363, Western Agricultural Economics Association.
    9. Scrogin, David & Berrens, Robert P. & Bohara, Alok K., 2000. "Policy Changes And The Demand For Lottery-Rationed Big Game Hunting Licenses," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 25(02), December.
    10. Jorge Holzer & Kenneth McConnell, 2014. "Harvest Allocation without Property Rights," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 209-232.
    11. Gil S. Epstein & Shmuel Nitzan, 2002. "Politics of Randomness," CESifo Working Paper Series 803, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Scrogin, David & Berrens, Robert P., 2001. "Rationed Access And Welfare: Case Of Public Resource Lotteries," 2001 Annual meeting, August 5-8, Chicago, IL 20472, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    13. Kaplan, Todd R. & Zamir, Shmuel, 2015. "Advances in Auctions," Handbook of Game Theory with Economic Applications, Elsevier.
    14. Taylor, Grant A. & Tsui, Kevin K. K. & Zhu, Lijing, 2003. "Lottery or waiting-line auction?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(5-6), pages 1313-1334, May.
    15. David O. Scrogin & Robert P. Berrens, 2003. "Rationed Access and Welfare: The Case of Public Resource Lotteries," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(2), pages 137-148.

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