Pity the poor moose in Maine

Nothing unusual in the quaint old US custom of awarding huntin’ permits by lottery. (Fundamentally wrong in principle, of course; these valuable public assets should be auctioned off, not given away.) (Even better put an end to the slaughter for fun of these fine fellow-creatures.)

But in Maine this is a weighted lottery with a twist: Maine residents get better chances. You can also buy extra chances. But perhaps the oddest feature is that you are compensated for losing in a previous round. Details:

http://www.pressherald.com/news/luck-strikes-hunters-at-random_2010-06-18.html, or here http://www.maine.gov/ifw/licenses_permits/lotteries/moose/index.htm.

Is there a point to any of this? Well maybe we should think about mechanisms for compensating ‘lottery-losers’, especially multiple l-ls. This might apply to parents who miss their first choice school, and then their second, etc. When the prize is a big one unlucky losers will squeal. Read about the saga of Meike Vernooy in my new book “Lotteries for Education” – she changed the system.