God Does Not Play Dice, But People Should: Random Selection in Politics, Science and Society

University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 144

19 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2014 Last revised: 2 Apr 2014

See all articles by Bruno S. Frey

Bruno S. Frey

CREMA; University of Basel

Lasse Steiner

University of Zurich

Date Written: March 1, 2014

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.

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

JEL Classification: D72, D73, P16, H10

Suggested Citation

Frey, Bruno S. and Steiner, Lasse, God Does Not Play Dice, But People Should: Random Selection in Politics, Science and Society (March 1, 2014). University of Zurich, Department of Economics, Working Paper No. 144. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2407896 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2407896

Bruno S. Frey (Contact Author)

CREMA ( email )

Südstrasse 11
Zurich, CH 8008
Switzerland
+41 44 380 00 78 (Phone)

University of Basel ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
Basel, 4002
Switzerland

Lasse Steiner

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

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