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Comparison of Eurovision song contest simulation with actual results reveals shifting patterns of collusive voting alliances

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2006
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation
Issue number2
Volume9
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The voting patterns in the Eurovision Song Contest have attracted attention from various researchers, spawning a small cross-disciplinary field of what might be called 'eurovisiopsephology' incorporating insights from politics, sociology and computer science. Although the outcome of the contest is decided using a simple electoral system, its single parameter - the number of countries casting a vote - varies from year to year. Analytical identification of statistically significant trends in voting patterns over a period of several years is therefore mathematically complex. Simulation provides a method for reconstructing the contest's history using Monte Carlo methods. Comparison of simulated histories with the actual history of the contest allows the identification of statistically significant changes in patterns of voting behaviour, without requiring a full mathematical solution. In particular, the period since the mid-90s has seen the emergence of large geographical voting blocs from previously small voting partnerships, which initially appeared in the early 90s. On at least two occasions, the outcome of the contest has been crucially affected by voting blocs. The structure of these blocs implies that a handful of centrally placed countries have a higher probability of being future winners.