Malcolm Gladwell on sortition

Malcolm Gladwell is a well-known popular science author. Gladwell has a podcast called “Revisionist History”. A recent episode of the podcast is devoted to sortition, with much of it being about Adam Cronkright’s work in applying sortition to student bodies in schools in Bolivia. Gladwell himself visits a school in the US and finds that the students are receptive to the idea. He also mentions the idea of using a lottery to allocate research funds.

Lotteries during Covid-19

Public housing is allocated via lottery in Trinidad and Tobago:

Five hundred applicants from the public housing database moved one step closer to home ownership when they were selected for assessment interviews during the Housing Draw, which was hosted live by the Ministry of Housing and the Trinidad and Tobago Housing Development Corporation (HDC) on Wednesday.

The HDC said the applicants were selected from a database of 180,000.

The National Housing Allocation Policy, which was developed in 2004, and which guides the HDC, is intended to ensure greater equity in the allocation process so that all applicants, once they are eligible for the programme, have an equal opportunity of being randomly selected for the location of their choice.

In addition to modified random draws which account for 60 percent of allocations per community, the Allocation Policy provides for a 25 percent for emergency cases or those recommended by the Minister; 10 percent allocation to members of the protective service and defence force; and 5 percent for the elderly and persons with disabilities.

To be eligible for public housing, applicants must be twenty-one 21 years and over, resident citizens with a combined household income of under $25,000 and must not own any property.

2019 review – statistics

Below are some statistics about the tenth year of Equality-by-Lot. Comparable numbers for last year can be found here.

2019 Page views Posts Comments
Jan 3,353 11 93
Feb 3,372 8 125
Mar 4,681 9 129
Apr 3,740 12 70
May 4,056 8 95
June 3,546 10 160
July 3,319 10 159
Aug 3,589 8 122
Sept 4,002 7 109
Oct 5,041 10 129
Nov 4,535 9 102
Dec (to 25th) 3,605 9 53
Total 46,839 111 1,346

Note that page views do not include visits by logged-in contributors – the wordpress system does not count those visits.

Posts were made by 16 authors during 2019. (There were, of course, many other authors quoted and linked to.)

There are currently 413 email and WordPress followers of this blog. In addition there are 419 Twitter followers (@Klerotarian) and 67 Facebook followers.

Searching for “distribution by lot” (with quotes) using Google returns Equality-by-Lot as the 1st result (out of “about 39,300 results”). Searching for “sortition” returns Equality-by-Lot as the 6th result (out of “about 163,000 results”) – preceded by the sortition entry at Wikipedia, links to Brett Hennig’s Sortition Foundation, and a link to Tim Dunlop’s article in the Guardian.

Happy holidays, a happy new year and a happy new decade to Equality-by-Lot readers, commenters and posters. Keep up the good fight for democracy!

Equality by Lot‘s first decade – a call for review input

The first post on Equality by Lot was published ten years ago, on December 14th, 2009. Over a thousand posts were published since, and happily enough sortition has made great strides in the public sphere worldwide.

This year, in addition to the yearly summary of the sortition-related ongoings, I would like to publish a decennial summary. You are all invited to register your input as to what are the important sortition-related things to note – over the last year as well as over the last decade. Please either post your input as a comment to this post or send it to me via email.

For previous years’ summaries see: 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.

Fienberg: Randomization and Social Affairs: The 1970 Draft Lottery

A 1971 Science article by Stephen E. Fienberg, professor of statistics at the University of Chicago, deals with the problematic 1970 draft lottery and places it in a wider context of randomization in social affairs.

Ontario’s pot shop lottery

The Ontario government (in Canada) has allotted the first 25 pot shop licenses by lottery.

Nearly 17,000 applicants participated in the lottery to win the right to apply for a licence to run one of Ontario’s first cannabis shops.

[…]

The province has temporarily limited the number of stores to 25 because of a shortage of pot. Politicians decided that a lottery was the fairest way to decide who could first apply for the licences.

The lottery was a blow to entrepreneurs who already had plans to open shops under way. Some had signed leases and completed branding and store designs.

At least half a dozen companies, including Ottawa’s National Access Cannabis, planned pot-shop chains or franchise operations.

Those big players found themselves at the mercy of chance, just like everyone else who paid $75 to enter the lottery. It didn’t appear that any of the big players won the lottery.

The DNC to allot primary debate slots

The Democratic party has announced its planned schedule for primary debates for the 2020 presidential race. To handle the possibility of there being many candidates, the DNC plans, if necessary, to split the field into two groups, and having those groups debate in two consecutive nights. The split will be at random:

If necessary, depending on the number of candidates who meet the threshold, the DNC is prepared to split the first two debates in June and July into consecutive nights, said DNC Chairman Tom Perez. If that happens, the lineup will be determined by random selection, which will take place publicly.

“It’s conceivable that we have a double-digit field,” Perez told reporters on a conference call. “That is why we are planning for that contingency.”

Pacific Standard magazine gives some background and analysis:
Continue reading

2018 review – statistics

Below are some statistics about the ninth year of Equality-by-Lot. Comparable numbers for last year can be found here.

2018 Page views Posts Comments
Jan 2,655 2 65
Feb 3,165 12 211
Mar 2,216 9 163
Apr 2,038 5 30
May 2,570 13 118
June 2,421 11 178
July 2,095 2 64
Aug 1,961 6 43
Sept 2,490 6 109
Oct 7,746 15 80
Nov 3,286 8 106
Dec (to 25th) 2,423 6 25
Total 35,066 95 1,192

Note that page views do not include visits by logged-in contributors – the wordpress system does not count those visits.

Posts were made by 16 authors during 2018. (There were, of course, many other authors quoted and linked to.)

There are currently 377 email and WordPress followers of this blog. In addition there are 347 Twitter followers (@Klerotarian) and 67 Facebook followers.

Searching for “distribution by lot” (with quotes) using Google returns Equality-by-Lot as the 3rd result (out of “about 30,200 results”). Searching for “sortition” returns Equality-by-Lot as the 6th result (out of “about 140,000 results”) – preceded by the sortition entry at Wikipedia, links to Brett Hennig’s Sortition Foundation, and a link to Tim Dunlop’s article in the Guardian.

Happy holidays and a happy new year to Equality-by-Lot readers, commenters and posters. Keep up the good fight for democracy!

Call for 2018 review input

This is the yearly call for input for the year’s end review. As in previous years, I would like to have a post or two summarizing the ongoings here at Equality-by-Lot and notable sortition-related events over the passing year. Any input about what should be included is welcome – either through comments below or via email. You are invited to refresh your memory about the events of the passing year by browsing Equality-by-Lot’s archives.

For previous years’ summaries see: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.

25 Books under “Sortition” on Amazon

Sortition fans can type “sortition” into the Amazon search box (with the setting set to Books) and bring up a list of about 25 books on sortition. (You might also try “demarchy” or “election by lot”.) About one-third of the Kindle versions are under $5.

Americans can get to that page merely by clicking the shorty link https://goo.gl/Jw8Xfg 

Britons can do likewise at https://goo.gl/6RN8R7

Burnheim’s book, Is Democracy Possible? isn’t among the 25, probably because the word “sortition” isn’t in its text (I assume), but its Kindle version can be had in the U.S. for $3 at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IMOCMLG/ref=pe_385040_118058080_TE_M1DP 

Probably its UK version is likewise inexpensive, but you’ll have to type in the title to get to it.