Alex Tabbarok thinks the USA should evaluate the candidates for its presidential election via gameshows rather than debates:
Our system for choosing presidents doesn’t work very well. Voters are woefully uninformed on the most basic of issues and many end up voting on whim. I don’t think restricting the franchise is a good solution, however. A better idea is to create procedures that encourage voters to become better informed. Our current institutions for providing information are lousy. Debates, for example, are boring, the politicians don’t answer the questions and most importantly the voters don’t know what a good answer is.
I suggest a game show, So You Think You Can Be President? SYTYCBP would have at least three segments.
Coase it Out: Presidential candidates have 12 hours to get a bitterly divorcing couple to divide their assets in a mutually agreeable manner. (Bonus points are awarded if the candidate convinces the couple to stay together.)
Game Theory: Candidates compete in a game of Diplomacy. I would also include several ringers – say Robin Hanson, Bryan Caplan and Salma Hayek. Why these three? Robin is cold, calculating and merciless – make a logical mistake and he will make you pay. Bryan is crafty and experienced. And Salma? I couldn’t refuse her anything but presidents should be made of stronger stuff so we need a test.
Spot the Fraud: Presidential candidates are provided with an economic scenario (mortgage defaults are up, hedge funds are crashing, liquidity is tight). Three experts propose plans. The candidate must choose one of the plans. After the candidate chooses, the true identities of the “experts” are revealed. One is a trucker, another a scuba diver instructor and the last a distinguished economist. Which did the candidate choose?
I think this could work in the UK too. Incidently the title of this post is a novel by Iain Banks where the leader of an empire is the person who wins a board game.
(via Marginal Revolution)