Gil Hersch Speaks on Queuing, Lotteries, and Fairness

Gil Hersch, Core Faculty member of the Kellogg Center for Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, will give a talk on the topic, “Queuing is Scarcely Better than a Lottery.” The virtual talk in the context of the Center for Humanities speaker series will take place on April 5, 2021, at 2pm (Zoom link).

Here is an abstract of the talk: When there are no morally relevant differences between individuals, a ‘first come, first served’ allocation mechanism for goods is often a more efficient, more equitable, and a fairer allocation mechanism than lotteries, argue Tyler John and Joseph Millum. While John and Millum set aside the discussion of the type of good to be allocated, from a moral perspective the most pressing cases are those in which the allocated good is scarce, meaning not everyone can get one, no matter how long they wait. When the good is actually scarce, the allocation mechanism must determine not only the order in which a good is allocated but, more importantly, who will get the good and who will not. Dr. Hersch argues that for cases that involve scarce goods, lotteries are both a fairer allocative mechanism than ‘first come, first served’ and a no less efficient one.

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