A tournament of party decision rules

James H. Fowler, Michael Laver

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Following Axelrod's tournaments for strategies in the repeat-play prisoner's dilemma, we ran a ''tournament of party decision rules'' in a dynamic agent-based model of party competition. We asked researchers to submit rules for selecting party positions in a two-dimensional policy space, pitting each rule against all others in a suite of long-running simulations. The most successful rule combined a number of striking features: satisficing rather than maximizing in the short run, being ''parasitic'' on choices made by successful rules, and being hardwired not to attack other agents using the same rule. In a second suite of simulations in a more evolutionary setting in which the selection probability of a rule was a function of the previous success of agents using the same rule, the rule winning the original tournament pulled even further ahead of the competition.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)68-92
    Number of pages25
    JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Feb 2008


    • Agent-based model
    • Computer tournament
    • Parties and elections
    • Party competition

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Business, Management and Accounting
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations


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