Nothing More Practical than a Good Theory
than a Good Theory
Advances in formal political theory have found direct applications for solving conflicts and making decisions in the real world. Here you can find three remarkable examples of private companies created by scholars which are able to disseminate sophisticated knowledge among practitioners and decision-makers in the aim of promoting efficiency and fairness.
The Median Voter
The median voter’s theorem has been applied to settings in which there are no formal elections, but where a decisive actor with the median properties can be identified. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita’s Predictioneers’ Game offers the possibility of analyzing a situation of potential conflict among groups or countries by estimating three parameters: the relative positions of the actors, their potential influence in producing an outcome, and the importance of the issue for each actor.
In cases of disputes or negotiations, certain algorithms grounded in game theory enable the parties to find fair and equitable outcomes. Steven Brams’s formulas of fair division have been applied to conflicts ranging from divorce to international border disputes.
Fair Outcomes, Inc. provides tools for “Fair Buy-Sell”, “Fair Proposals”, “Fair Reputations”, and especially for “Fair Division” in cases in which two parties must divide up multiple items of property or resolve multiple issues that are in dispute. The website includes several examples and applications, as well as interactive pages that are useful for teaching and research, including for the “Adjusted Winner” successful procedure.
Multidimensional spaces can be identified for real politicians, such as the members of the U.S. Congress. The WinSet Group, LLC has presented some of its products at conferences of the Public Choice society and the American Political Science Association. In particular, the CyberSenate program is able to locate spatial positions of U.S. senators in a multiple issue policy space on the basis of previous votes, as shown in the graph below, with solid capability for prediction and advice.
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