Decision Theory and Social Ethics pp 133-152
Acceptable Social Choice Lotteries
Lotteries have been used at least since biblical times to make certain types of social decisions. Thanks in part to the paper by Zeckhauser , which notes that “Social decision procedures usually do not allow lotteries on alternatives to compete as potential social choices”, interest in the analysis of social choice lotteries has increased in the past few years. As far as I am aware there has not however been an attempt to identify the characteristics of situations in which a social choice lottery can be acceptable by current standards. The first main purpose of this paper will therefore be to suggest a set of characteristics for a social choice process that delineates minimal standards of acceptability for the use of a social choice lottery. At the same time I shall identify reasons why such lotteries are not used more often at the present time.
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