Magda C. Mantovani, Haroldo V. Ribeiro, Ervin K. Lenzi, Sérgio de Picoli, Jr. e Renio dos S. Mendes

PHYSICAL REVIEW E – Volume: 88; Issue: 2; Article Number: 24802; DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.88.024802

We report on a statistical analysis of the engagement in the electoral processes of all Brazilian cities by considering the number of party memberships and the number of candidates for mayor and councillor. By investigating the relationships between the number of party members and the population of voters, we have found that the functional forms of these relationships are well described by sublinear power laws (allometric scaling) surrounded by a multiplicative log-normal noise. We have observed that this pattern is quite similar to those we previously reported for the relationships between the number of candidates (mayor and councillor) and population of voters [Europhys. Lett. 96, 48001 (2011)], suggesting that similar universal laws may be ruling the engagement in the electoral processes. We also note that the power-law exponents display a clear hierarchy, where the more influential is the political position the smaller is the value of the exponent. We have also investigated the probability distributions of the number of candidates (mayor and councillor), party memberships, and voters. The results indicate that the most influential positions are characterized by distributions with very short tails, while less influential positions display an intermediate power-law decay before showing an exponential-like cutoff. We discuss the possibility that, in addition to the political power of the position, limitations in the number of available seats can also be connected with this changing of behavior. We further believe that our empirical findings point out to an under-representation effect, where the larger the city is, the larger are the obstacles for more individuals to become directly engaged in the electoral process.