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Good reasons for losers: lottery justification and social risk

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 April 2021

Kai Spiekermann
Affiliation:
Department of Government, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, UK Email: k.spiekermann@lse.ac.uk
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Many goods are distributed by processes that involve randomness. In lotteries, randomness is used to promote fairness. When taking social risks, randomness is a feature of the process. The losers of such decisions ought to be given a reason why they should accept the outcome. Surprisingly, good reasons demand more than merely equal ex ante chances. What is also required is a true statement of the form: ‘the result could easily have gone the other way and you could have been the winner’. This rules in standard lotteries but rules out many lotteries based on merely epistemic probability.

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Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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