Why Social Scientists Should Be Interested in Luck: A Note on Some Fallacies

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. The objective of this article is to explain why social scientists should take luck more seriously as an explanatory variable and a factor in normative analysis. Methods. Three fallacies connected with luck are examined: ii) the law-of-large-numbers fallacy; (2) the break-even-in-a-fair-gane fallacy; and (3) the equality-of-luck-means-equality-of-outcomes fallacy. Conclusions. Outcomes do not even out over a large series of chance events. Instead, luck gives systematically different outcomes for individuals with different starting points. This :is important in explaining different probabilities of ruin and exposure to risk among the rich and the poor. It also raises questions about the extent to which individuals deserve the consequences of their actions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-139
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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