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The Lottery as a Democratic Institution: A Workshop

  • Dates: Thursday, 11 October 2012 (9am to 4pm) and Friday, 12 October (9.15am to 12pm)

  • Venue: Trinity College Dublin

This workshop brought together an interdisciplinary research team from across Europe to consider the lottery as a democratic institution. The event was jointly organised by Gil Delannoi (Science Po), Oliver Dowlen (UCL) and Peter Stone (Trinity College Dublin) in collaboration with The Policy Institute.


The large and growing problems facing modern democracies have led many to reconsider the idea of selecting some political officials by lot. The randomly-selected jury remains widely regarded as a model of bringing ordinary people together to make vital public decisions; as a result, there are now many proposals to use the lottery as a democratic institution more expansively.

But while the idea of selecting political officials by lot is receiving more and more attention, it still strikes many people as unrealistic and utopian. This is partly because there remain difficult unanswered questions about lotteries. This workshop will focus upon the following three of those questions:

1) What can lotteries contribute to politics?

2) How lotteries best be incorporated into modern democratic institutions?

3) What research questions on lotteries still need to be addressed?

This report will serve as the basis for conversation among the invited speakers:


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Last updated 13 June 2014 .