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The Luck of the DrawThe Role of Lotteries in Decision Making$
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Peter Stone

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199756100

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199756100.001.0001

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(p.65) 4 Impartiality
The Luck of the Draw

Peter Stone

Oxford University Press

This chapter demonstrates why the lottery principle implies the just lottery rule—why the sanitizing effect of lotteries explains when and why lotteries are justified in allocating goods. The chapter does so by formulating certain conditions that allocations must satisfy in order to qualify as just. Some of these conditions apply to the evaluation of the outcomes of the allocative process. These include the conditions of efficiency, priority, and equality. But other conditions apply to the evaluation of the actions taken during the allocative process. Those conditions can be summarized in the principle of impartiality. That principle demands that the conditions of efficiency, priority, and equality be satisfied whenever possible. But when indeterminacy arises—when two or more claimants have equally good claims, and it is possible to satisfy some but not all of them—these conditions might be impossible to satisfy simultaneously. In such a case, impartiality demands that the agent avoid any reasons at all while resolving the indeterminacy. A lottery can do this, and so the demands of impartiality require the sanitizing effect of lotteries.

Keywords:   lottery, justice, allocation, distribution, claims, efficiency, priority, equality, impartiality, indeterminacy

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