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The luck of the draw : the role of lotteries in decision-making

Author: Peter Stone
Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 2011.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
From the earliest times, people have used lotteries to make decisions--by drawing straws, tossing coins, picking names out of hats, and so on.

We use lotteries to place citizens on juries, draft men into armies, assign students to schools, and even on very rare occasions, select lifeboat survivors to be eaten.

Lotteries make a great deal of sense in all of these cases, and yet there is something absurd about them.

Largely, this is because lottery-based decisions are not based upon reasons.

In fact, lotteries actively prevent reason from playing a role in decision making at all.

Over the years, people have devoted considerable effort to solving this paradox and thinking about the legitimacy of lotteries as a whole.

However, these scholars have mainly focused on lotteries on a case-by-case basis, not as a part of a comprehensive political theory of lotteries.

In The Luck of the Draw, Peter Stone surveys the variety of arguments proffered for and against lotteries and argues that they only have one true effect relevant to decision making: the "sanitizing effect" of preventing decisions from being made on the basis of reasons.

While this rationale might sound strange to us, Stone contends that in many instances, it is vital that decisions be made without the use of reasons.

By developing innovative principles for the use of lottery-based decision making, Stone lays a foundation for understanding when it is--and when it is not--appropriate to draw lots when making political decisions both large and small.  Read more...

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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Peter Stone
ISBN: 9780199756100 0199756104
OCLC Number: 768311175
Description: xii, 195 p. ; 25 cm
Contents: The school board tosses a coin --
Lotteries, lotteries everywhere --
Absurd yet obvious --
The story so far --
The argument to come --
What is a lottery --
Fundamental features of decision-making --
Decision-making by lottery --
The lottery principle --
Indeterminacy without lotteries --
Lotteries and divination --
The relationship between lotteries and justice --
The just lottery rule --
Consent, opportunities, expectations --
What does allocative justice require? --
Allocative justice and outcomes --
Allocative justice and actions --
Impartiality and indeterminacy --
The right and the good --
The nature of the impartiality principle --
Theories of justice --
Alternatives to random selection --
Sortition in practice --
Sortition and justice --
Incentive alignment --
Descriptive representation --
Random selection in other contexts.
Responsibility: Peter Stone.

Abstract:

In The Luck of the Draw, Peter Stone surveys the substantial number of arguments for and against lotteries and argues that lotteries have only one crucial effect relevant to decision-making: they  Read more...

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Stone does a wonderful job in unifying the discussion of scarce good lotteries under the umbrella of impartiality. ... the implementation of general criteria of justice ... is enough to make The Luck Read more...

 
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