Marc Abrahams, the editor of the bimonthly annals of Improbable Research and organiser of the Ig Nobel prize, turns in his “Improbable research” column in the Guardian to Pluchino et al. in support for sortition:
Improbable research: why random selection of MPs may be best
Mathematical research indicates that parliaments work best when some, though not all, members are chosen at random
Democracies would be better off if they chose some of their politicians at random. That’s the word, mathematically obtained, from a team of Italian physicists, economists, and political analysts.
The team includes the trio whose earlier research showed, also mathematically, that bureaucracies would be more efficient if they promoted people at random.
The scientists made a simple calculation model that mimics the way modern parliaments work, including the effects of particular political parties or coalitions. In the model, individual legislators can cast particular votes that advance either their own interests (one of which is to gain re-election), or the interests of society as a whole. Party discipline comes into play, affecting the votes of officials who got elected with help from their party.
But when some legislators are selected at random – owing no allegiance to any party – the legislature’s overall efficiency improves. That higher efficiency, the scientists explain, comes in “both the number of laws passed and the average social welfare obtained” from those new laws.