Hans de Jonge, a university Education Policy Advisor in the Netherlands asks for our help:
“I believe there is some similarity between the arguments used to support lotteries in the allocation of scarce places in medical school and the case for using lotteries in the distribution of research funds. Do you know of any papers in support of this, or instances where it is used?”
“I am responsible for matters concerning selection, numerus clausus and student admission and access regulation. I found it very interesting to see your assessment of the Dutch model of weighted lotteries for our medical schools!
Your book mainly deals with using lotteries in an educational context. It might also inspire the reader to think of other possible situations in which lotteries can be used to support decision making processes. One obvious possible application to me seems the distribution of research funding.
One problem is the impossibility to select “the best from the very best” research proposals due to the lack of valid comparators. This is an argument that continues to be used in support for lotteries in medical schools in the Netherlands today.
Another striking feature relates to the costs. If the costs for selecting “the best from the very best” are no longer proportionate to the efforts put into it, and if these costs are a drain on other important primary processes (e.d. education, research), maybe it is better to think of a cheaper system such as a lottery.
This argument is significant when thinking of the highly bureaucratic and expensive systems used for distributing research funds. There are great costs incurred in maintaining the ever-increasing number of national and international research councils. Their main task it is to organize peer review, which this by no means is always able to distinguish between the best and the very best research proposals.
I was delighted to read in your earlier paper for the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society that professor Goodhardt has made a similar suggestion about the use of lotteries in allocating research funding. [this will be posted as a comment]
Until now however I’ve been unable to find any literature in support of the idea of research funding distributed by lottery.
Do you know of any papers?
Or do you know of funding systems in which forms of lotteries are used?
Thanks in advance for any suggestion you have,
I would be delighted to hear from you,
Drs. H.L. de Jonge • Beleidsadviseur onderwijs • T (070) 302 14 33 • email@example.com
Vereniging van Universiteiten (Lange Houtstraat 2 • Postbus 13739 • 2501 ES Den Haag • T (070) 302 14 00 • M 06 255 38 047 •F (070) 302 14 95 • http://www.vsnu.nl • werkdagen Ma t/m vr