I'm currently sitting at the West Cornish Pasty Co. waiting for my large traditional pasty and my beer. After dinner I'll walk around Covent Garden for awhile and then head over to the New London Theater on Drury Lane to see War Horses which I'm very excited about. Mrs. J raved about it after her trip to London. I'm sure Ann can remember her demanding that we look through the show's program.
As I type this there is a performer nearby who is apparently putting on some kind of show that involves Pink's "Get the Party Started" and a leaf blower. Hm...
Today in my class I had to give a presentation of a problem. I wasn't 100% sure of my answer (Intuitively I was, but I hadn't quite proved it... Or so I felt). I ended up having it right and aside from my bad handwriting on the white board I was pleased with the presentation, especially considering that I hadn't really prepared for the presentation itself.
The problem is actually pretty simple. Basically you have a bunch of voters (Say an infinite amount to make it easy) and they're uniformly distributed along a spectrum (For instance pure conserative is 1 and pure liberal is 0). With the infinite voters spanning 0 to 1 you just have a number line of voters. So where on this line would the candidates for office fall? If there are two what you find is that no matter where they begin, they'll end up at the middle.
Side note: This lady beside me just yelled at the waitress because they didn't have something her family wanted. "I'm trying to feed children, not give them half a meal!" The kids are like 15... They'll survive.
So back to the model. The more interesting question is what happens with three candidates. And the answer is effectively: who knows? There will again be pressure toward the middle, though in a possibly much more complicated way, but the state with all three at the center (or any one point) won't be stable. I think there would be an equilibrium with 4 candidates but I haven't actually given that any thought. Obviously, this model fails to account for a number of key features of most elections. Voters aren't uniformly distributed, elections aren't generally one dimensional, and participation is rarely 100%. Regardless, it is a very interesting model.
I promise to try to keep the boring economics to a minimum on this blog.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have a pasty to devour.