Re: POLI: Random democracy

Robin Hanson (
Tue, 25 Feb 1997 10:32:03 -0800 (PST)

"Peter C. McCluskey" writes:
>>>Given the frequency with which candidates break promises ("Read my
>>>lips ...", "I won't seek a second term", etc.), why would voters
>>>expect they could enforce a promise of randomness?
>>How about posting a bond that you lose if you break your promise?
>>Compared to most political promises, this should be relatively easy to
>>verify that it was broken.
> Good question. Why isn't this used for the kinds of promises politicians
>are making now? There appears to be plenty of demand for the benefits
>it would provide, and I can't see any obstacles that deter its use.

Two theories come to mind:
1. Voters really don't want to elect a leader whose hands are tied in
this manner. They know these promises are just cheap talk, they don't
take them any more seriously than that, and that's they way they like it.
2. Being the first to make a promise like this would flag you as
someone who thinks we won't trust you, and as someone with an ususual
fascination and trust in monetary incentives. Looks too weird.

Robin D. Hanson