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Dynamics of Strategic Three-Choice Voting

- January 30, 2009

Sidney Redner sends along this article by D. Volovik, M. Mobilia, and himself (apparently physicists think it’s tacky to include first names in their articles), which begins:

A feature of governance in several countries with parliamentary elections—typically British Commonwealth countries and Britain itself—is that two major parties move in and out of power every few elections, while a smaller third party either has never or rarely governed. This lack of representation of the minority party occurs even though its vote fraction can be close to that of the major parties. . . . We [Volovik et al.] present a simple model to account for this phenomenon, in which minority party supporters sometimes vote ideologically (for their party) and sometimes strategically (against the party they like the least). The competition between these disparate tendencies reproduces the empirical observation of two parties that frequently exchange majority status and a third party that is almost always in the minority.

Cool stuff. The article also has pretty pictures. It’s fun to see probability theory used to make this sort of model. I think I’m going to throw up if I see one more model for pricing in the options market.

P.S. I haven’t read the above article in detail, so I have no idea whether the model makes sense. But just to calibrate, I think it’s much much much better than the article linked to here.