Limited resources (e.g. jobs research grants, welfare, attention) are often allocated to those who desire them according to assessments of merit or deservingness made by presumably neutral judges. The resulting adjudicated contests are, in principle, more fair than other means of allocation: market economies, violence, privilege, kickbacks, etc. However, as adjudicated contests evolve they tend to attract an increasing number of qualified contestants. If resources do not expand to reward these contestants, additional tests of merit or deservingness are often invoked to make increasingly small contestant discriminations. These additional tests are shown to be breeding grounds of invidious selection vitiating the principle of fairness that characterizes the contests in which they are employed. The causes and consequences of invidious selection are discussed, as are some possibilities of their avoidance. Copyright

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Keywords Contests, Evolution Proliferation, Fairness, Justice
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Journal Journal of Behavioral Decision Making
Thorngate, W. (1988). On the evolution of adjudicated contests and the principle of invidious. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 1(1), 5–15. doi:10.1002/bdm.3960010103