The rule of k names can be described as follows: given a set of candidates for office, a committee chooses k members from this set by voting, and makes a list with their names. Then a single individual from outside the committee selects one of the listed names for the office. Different variants of this method have been used since the distant past and are still used today in many countries and for different types of choices. After documenting this widespread use by means of actual examples, we provide a theoretical analysis. We concentrate on the plausible outcomes induced by the rule of k names when the agents involved act strategically. Our analysis shows how the parameter k, the screening rule and the nature of candidacies act as a means to balance the power of the committee with that of the chooser.
Published as: On the Rule of K Names in Games and Economic Behavior January, 2010