Europhys. Lett.
Volume 69, Number 5, March 2005
Page(s) 671 - 677
Section General
Published online 04 February 2005
Europhys. Lett., 69 (5), pp. 671-677 (2005)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2004-10421-1

Opinion dynamics: Rise and fall of political parties

E. Ben-Naim

Theoretical Division and Center for Nonlinear Studies, Los Alamos National Laboratory Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA

received 17 November 2004; accepted in final form 7 January 2005
published online 4 February 2005

We analyze the evolution of political organizations using a model in which agents change their opinions via two competing mechanisms. Two agents may interact and reach consensus, and additionally, individual agents may spontaneously change their opinions by a random, diffusive process. We find three distinct possibilities. For strong diffusion, the distribution of opinions is uniform and no political organizations (parties) are formed. For weak diffusion, parties do form and furthermore, the political landscape continually evolves as small parties merge into larger ones. Without diffusion, a pattern develops: parties have the same size and they possess equal niches. These phenomena are analyzed using pattern formation and scaling techniques.

02.50.Ey - Stochastic processes.
05.45.-a - Nonlinear dynamics and nonlinear dynamical systems.
89.65.-s - Social and economic systems.

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