Values of Large Games, IV

Evaluating the Electoral College by Montecarlo Techniques

by Irwin Mann, Lloyd S. Shapley

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An illustration of the power-index concept of game theory, provided by an analysis of the Electoral College of the United States as a game. Despite its seemingly transparent rules of operation, the electoral-vote method of choosing the president and vice-president contains a number of peculiarities in its a priority distribution of power that can only be revealed by laborious numerical computations. The most noteworthy power anomaly disclosed is a general bias in favor of the large states that makes their electoral votes consistently worth more than those of the small states, although the difference is relatively minor. The study contains an account of the game model, the computed power indices, and the "Montecarlo" sampling schemes invented to make the computation possible.

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