Love thy Neighbor, Love thy Kin: Strategy and Bias in the Eurovision Song Contest
The annual Eurovision Song Contest provides a setting where Europeans can express their sentiments about other countries without regard to political sensitivities. Analyzing voting data from the 25 contests between 1981-2005, we find strong evidence for the existence of clusters of countries that systematically exchange votes regardless of the quality of their entries. Cultural, geographic, economic and political factors are important determinants of point exchanges. Factors such as order of appearance, language and gender are also important. There is also a substantial host country effect. We find some evidence of reciprocity but no evidence of strategic voting.
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