What is the Will Rogers Phenomenon

How can a party through skillful constituency manipulation increase its share of the vote in all districts without additional (or even changes to) the votes themselves?

The phenomenon is called stage migration or Will Rogers phenomenon, according to Will Rogers (American philosopher), who commented on the economic crisis in the USA: "When the Okies left Oklahoma and moved to California, they raised the average intelligence level in both states."

The expression stage migration comes from medical research and describes the problem that, through improved diagnostics in patients, further progression of a disease (stage, stage) can be better recognized and the chances of recovery for patients in a stage appear better as a result.

There are two political districts. In the current course of the district borders, a center-west party receives 75% and in the east district 0% of the votes. By moving the border, it receives 100% of the votes in the West district and 25% in the Middle-East district, i.e. 25% more in both districts, without additional voters.

A party increases its share of the vote in two districts without additional shares of the vote.
Example from H.-P. Beck-Bornholdt, H.-H. Dubben, "The Dog That Lays Eggs".


Constituency Geometry Gerrymandering, or how to "optimally" tailor constituencies.

Example from medicine

Example from medicine

© 2000 Martin Fehndrich