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PeterisP comments on A Voting Puzzle, Some Political Science, and a Nerd Failure Mode - Less Wrong

88 Post author: ChrisHallquist 10 October 2013 02:10AM

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Comment author: PeterisP 10 October 2013 04:32:50PM 40 points [-]

There's the classic economic textbook example of two hot-dog vendors on a beach that need to choose their location - assuming an even distribution of customers, and that customers always choose the closest vendor; the equilibrium location is them standing right next to each other in the middle; while the "optimal" (from customer view, minimizing distance) locations would be at 25% and 75% marks.
This matches the median voter principle - the optimal behavior of candidates is to be as close as possible to the median but on the "right side" to capture "their half" of the voters; even if most voters in a specific party would prefer their candidate to cater for, say, the median Republican/Democrat instead, it's against the candidates interests to do so.

Comment author: ChrisHallquist 11 October 2013 01:35:46AM 7 points [-]

Life makes so much more sense now.

Seriously, I always wondered why I always see a Walgreens and a CVS across the street from each other. Or why I see the same with two competing chains of video stores (not that I see video stores much anymore, in this age of Netflix.)

Comment author: homunq 19 October 2013 03:31:02PM *  2 points [-]

Actually, that's probably a different phenomenon. Stores of a similar type tend to cluster, because that's where the customers (and, to some extent, suppliers) cluster. If you were opening a new flower stall, then 1% of the 10K potential customers in the flower market is still a better deal than 100% of the 10 potential customers on some random street corner.

Comment author: Nomad 10 October 2013 05:25:58PM 2 points [-]

Gotta agree with that. I live about 5 minutes away from 3 different supermarkets within metres of each other.

Comment author: Gunnar_Zarncke 24 October 2013 10:10:30PM 1 point [-]

That's true only if the voters/buyers have only exactly these choices. But in general they have more:

They can also Exit, Voice, and Loyalty ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exit,_Voice,_and_Loyalty ).

That is customers can refuse to buy at all (Exit) and voters can protest instead of silent voting (Voice). Or they can support a side actively (Loyalty).

Taking this into account changes the simple economic result to one overlayed with longer term Exit/Voice trends.