Aggregation of Rankings in Figure Skating
We scrutinize and compare, from the perspective of modern theory of social choice, two rules that have been used to rank competitors in Figure Skating for the past decades. The first rule has been in use at least from 1982 until 1998, when it was replaced by a new one. We also compare these two rules with the Borda and the Kemeny rules. The four rules are illustrated with examples and with the data of 30 Olympic competitions. The comparisons show that the choice of a rule can have a real impact on the rankings. In these data, we found as many as 19 cycles of the majority relation, involving as many as nine skaters. In this context, the Kemeny rule appears as a natural extension of the Condorcet rule. As a side result, we show that the Copeland rule can be used to partition the skaters in such a way that it suffice to find Kemeny rankings within subsets of the partition that are not singletons and then, to juxtapose these rankings to get a complete Kemeny ranking. We also propose the concept of the mean Kemeny ranking, which when it exists, may obviate the multiplicity of Kemeny rankings. Finally, the fours rules are examined in terms of their manipulability. It appears that the new rule used in Figure Skating may be more difficult to manipulate than the previous one but less so than the Kemeny rule.
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