Math: Advantage of selecting politicians randomly

The Italian research team that received an Ig Nobel Prize in 2010 for demonstrating mathematically that organizations would become more efficient if they promoted people at random has extended its work (as well as gained some team members). Their new study is:

Accidental Politicians: How Randomly Selected Legislators Can Improve Parliament Efficiency“, A. Pluchino, C. Garofalo, A. Rapisarda, S. Spagano, M. Caserta, arXiv:1103.1224v1, March 7, 2011. They explain:

“We study a prototypical model of a Parliament with two Parties or two Political Coalitions and we show how the introduction of a variable percentage of randomly selected independent legislators can increase the global efficiency of a Legislature, in terms of both number of laws passed and average social welfare obtained. We also analytically find an “efficiency golden rule” which allows to fix the optimal number of legislators to be selected at random after that regular elections have established the relative proportion of the two Parties or Coalitions. These results are in line with both the ancient Greek democratic system and the recent discovery that the adoption of random strategies can improve the efficiency of hierarchical organizations…. [We] think that the introduction of random selection systems, rediscovering the wisdom of ancient democracies, would be broadly beneficial for modern institutions.”

BONUS: An appreciation by the Physics arXiv blog

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