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The acceptability of lotteries in allocation problems: a choice-based approach

Research output: Working paper

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Abstract

We report the results of two experiments on the social acceptability of random devices in allocation mechanisms. A majority of subjects do not opt for a lottery if they can rationalize an alternative mechanism as non-random. It is, however, possible to design a payoff-equivalent mechanism to the lottery that is more acceptable. Our results shed light on the real-world reliance on obscure criteria in allocation problems where lotteries seem to be simpler and more efficient.