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THE ENTROPIC ANALYSIS OF ELECTORAL RESULTS: THE CASE OF EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

Ferreira, Paulo and Dionisio, Andreia (2008): THE ENTROPIC ANALYSIS OF ELECTORAL RESULTS: THE CASE OF EUROPEAN COUNTRIES.

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Abstract

Entropy is a measure of information and uncertainty which has been used recently in different areas, besides of its original utilization in physics. Finance, microeconomics, macroeconomics, utility functions or even psychology are approached areas, using analogies between the areas physics and nature, creating a new research area: Econophysics (see, for example, Ausloos et al, 1999 or Bouchaud, 2002). This paper intends to explore the utilization of entropy through politics and election results, an area just slightly explored (Gill, 2005). It generalizes interpretation of entropy, considering it a measure of dissatisfaction and disillusion of populations in relation to politics. Some phenomena like the increase of abstention in a country, consequence of the dissatisfaction of population and of their alienation in relation to politics could be detected and analysed. This discontentment could result, for example, in the appearance of new political parties, with more division of votes and increasing entropy (result of the discontentment and uncertainty by electors). Absolute majorities, while imply less dispersion of votes, are synonym of more confidence in a given party, making a reduction of entropy. Electoral results could also be influenced by particular phenomena, like those terrorist attacks made in vespers of the two last elections in Spain, with consequences on the affluence to the polls by electors, and influencing levels of entropy. Elections' dates could also influence results: for example, elections on summer season suffer from more abstention. Elections' results could also be connected with aspects like safety feeling of citizens, with unpopular socio-economic policies taken by government or even with the economic performance of a country. One of the purposes of this paper is to find these types of phenomena and try to relate them with the concept of entropy. Another objective is to analyse the reality in different European countries.

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