Saturday, May 21, 2005

Betting on law review

Red and Blue reports that one section has an "elaborate pool -- Vegas-line style odds and all -- for students to gamble on who will make law review."

I find this pool deeply troubling for several reasons. First, it encourages students to make explicit how smart they think their peers are. I’d hate to find out that my peers think I’m one of the dimmer bulbs in the class. No good can possibly come out of this. (If betting is restricted to those students who voluntarily participate, as could be the case, my objections are somewhat less.)

Second, I don’t think that odds can be calculated with any sense of accuracy. All the people from my section who made law review were worthy, but they seemed to be picked at random. Even for what grades are worth, and they are only a minor factor in the process, there are serious informational asymmetries. How to calculate the odds of those who never speak in class? What about the majority who never talk about their grades?

This whole betting thing strikes me as an effort to divine who the smartest people in the class are, and it is likely to be wildly inaccurate and accomplish nothing except hurt feelings. If I were Dean Kagan, I would ban these gambling pools even though I wouldn’t have the ability to enforce such a ban.

3 Comments:

Blogger Ha ha hit him again said...

Hmm, I wonder how I got $25 in my pocket last year at this time?

5/21/2005 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger The Critics said...

Ha ha hit him again!

5/21/2005 01:46:00 PM  
Blogger Ha ha hit him again said...

Perhaps the market mechanism is better than the law review selection process itself? That is, perhaps they should simply take those who have high odds of making it!

5/21/2005 08:51:00 PM  

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