Friday, 22 August 2014

Try this: Who to vote for this (NZ) election?

Last week and the week before, my ECON110 class was looking at the economics of government, including topics like government intervention in markets, public goods, tax policy, and the theory of public choice. One of the extra credit tasks I get my students to complete is to answer the Political Compass test. The Political Compass is pretty interesting because it ranks us on two scales: Economic Left-Right, and Authoritarian-Libertarian (see here for more). I also like it because at the end it shows how you compare with famous world leaders.

The downside of Political Compass is that it is quite U.S.-centric in how it defines Economic Left-Right. This year, my entire ECON110 class was on the left of centre according to the test, which is a bit implausible (and drew some surprised comments from some of them who considered themselves to be on the right). In 2011 they had a page that showed where the main political parties in New Zealand fit, but I can't see something similar this time, and based on my experience all of those dots should be shifted significantly to the left of where they are on that chart.

This election cycle, there are two other tools that were brought to my attention by some of my alert students:

VoteCompass works like a political poll, and collects a lot of demographic information which is going to be used by some academics at Vox Pop Labs no doubt for some research project. However, it gives output on where you stand very similar to the Political Compass: Economic Left-Right, and Social Conservative-Social Progressive. My results were very consistent between VoteCompass and the Political Compass.

On the Fence is a bit more populist and fun, and asks where you stand on a bunch of issues before telling you which party your views are most similar to (VoteCompass does this too, but explicitly says it is not providing voting advice). I found that the party they aligned my preferences to was a bit implausible.

Try them both out, especially if you aren't sure who to vote for this election and you're already over the whole 'Dirty Politics' saga.

[HT: Zane and Debra from my ECON110 class]

No comments:

Post a Comment