In recent years, physicists have begun to apply this idea to the social sciences. The idea is to explain the complex behaviour of societies using the simple actions of individuals, a discipline known as sociophysics. The ability to simulate this behaviour has provided a powerful way to test these ideas in areas ranging from crowd dynamics to financial markets.
One area that has attracted particular interest is voting patterns, for which high quality data is available in many countries around the world. That’s allowed sociophysicists to test an interesting hypothesis–that people in countries with the same electoral rules should vote in exactly the same way. Or in other words, that the distribution of votes for candidates should be the same in all countries which share the same electoral system.