One weird trick to end gerrymandering: cake-cutting game theory

You probably know the “you cut, I choose” method to split a cake between two people who want as much for themselves as possible: one person cuts the cake into two pieces and the other person gets to choose first. Now, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have applied cake-cutting game theory to the establishment of electoral districts.

From 3 Quarks Daily:

In American politics, however, cutting states into electoral districts doesn’t have a similarly fair method. The political party in charge often decides where the electoral lines are drawn and does so in such a way to gain an advantage – a process called gerrymandering.

But now, Ariel Procaccia, Wesley Pegden, and Dingli Yu at Carnegie Mellon University have come up with a way to extend the cake cutting technique to electoral redistricting to make the system a lot fairer.

“What we think is exciting about this is that it leverages the competition of the two parties. They can both act in their own self-interest and still result in an outcome that is mathematically fair,” says Procaccia.

Does something so fair stand a chance in politics?

Photo credit: Steven Nass / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)