CMSS One-Day Workshop on Political Science – 1 February 2024

CMSS One-Day Workshop on Political Science – 1 February 2024

The Centre of Mathematical Social Science (CMSS) is pleased to announce a one-day workshop on a broad range of issues in Political Science. The main topic will be on voting rules and elections but other related topics will be considered as well. In particular, the following may be of interest:

– the impact of various voting rules on minorities (be they smaller political parties or ethnic minorities);
– design of elections (eg., redistricting problems in the USA);
– MMP and the postmortem to the NZ 2023 elections.

Invited speakers:

Bernard Grofman (University of California, Irvine)
Jon Fraenkel (Victoria University of Wellington)

When: Thursday, 1 February 2024
Venue: Old Government House, University of Auckland

To read more about the program of the event, please visit the following URL address:

The CMSS is a transdisciplinary research centre with members from fields, including mathematics, economics, computer science, philosophy, and statistics. Research covers areas such as decision-making, social choice, voting, social networks, game theory, and experimental economics.

If you are willing to participate (no participation fee applies but the workshop dinner may be at your cost) get in touch with one of the co-directors of the centre.

Simona Fabrizi and Arkadii Slinko, CMSS Co-Directors

Roundtable on Resilient Democracies – 17 August 2023

Roundtable on Resilient Democracies – 17 August 2023

On 17 August 2023 we hosted a transdisciplinary roundtable, facilitating a conversation about “Resilient Democracies: On the role of trust, participation and combatting disinformation” featuring speakers with expertise in economics, mathematics, political theory, and international politics. You can find a recording of the session here. For photos taken on the day, follow this link.

One of the guest speakers, Professor Massimo Morelli also contributed a public lecture on “The Shift to Commitment Politics and Populism” later that day (see related CEPR Discussion Paper for more on this, or alternatively, read this working paper version) — access the recording of this public lecture on YouTube here — , and gave an interview in the media on related topics to those discussed in the roundtable and the public lecture, which you can read more about here.

With Guest Speakers:

Accompanied by co-Panellists:

  • Simona Fabrizi, co-Director of the CMSS and Senior Lecturer from the Dept of Economics at the University of Auckland
  • Arkadii Slinko, co-Director of the CMSS and Professor from the Dept of Mathematics at the University of Auckland

And Moderated by:

  • Robert MacCulloch, Matthew S. Abel Chair of Macroeconomics from the Dept of Economics at the University of Auckland


Public Lecture: Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series by Sir Douglas Myers Visiting Professor Massimo Morelli – 17 August 2023

Public Lecture: Dean’s Distinguished Speaker Series by Sir Douglas Myers Visiting Professor Massimo Morelli – 17 August 2023

A link to the recording of the lecture on YouTube can be found here

For photos taken on the day, follow this link

Speaker: Massimo Morelli (Bocconi University)

Title of the talk: The Shift to Commitment Politics and Populism” [working paper version –  slides & recording of the public lecture]

Date, Time and Venue: Thursday, 17 August 2023, 5.15pm – 6pm, Registration, drinks & canapés, Level 1 Foyer, Sir OGGB, 6pm – 7.30pm, Lecture and Audience Q&A, Sir OGGB, Room OGGB 5, Level 0

Abstract: The decline in voters’ trust in government and the rise of populism are two concerning features of contemporary politics in Europe and United States. In the lecture I plan to introduce a model of commitment politics that elucidates the interplay between distrust and populism. Candidates supply policy commitments to mitigate voters’ distrust in government, shrinking politicians’ levels of discretion typical of representative democracies. Alongside commitments, candidates rationally choose the main strategies associated with populism, namely anti-elite and pro-people rhetoric. With novel data on voters’ distrust towards the U.S. federal government, which we match with the Twitter activity of more than 2,000 candidates over five congressional elections, we show that distrust is strongly associated with candidates’ supply of commitments and populist rhetoric, which are also effective strategies at mobilizing distrustful voters. I also plan to show that the shift to commitment politics determines greater aversion to checks and balances, and hence even illiberal populism can emerge. Free media, judiciary independence, and professional bureaucrats, are all “agencies of restraint’’ of an executive, and hence the voters who prefer the policy commitments of their chosen candidate to executive power prefer the reduction of strength of all such agencies.

Bio: Massimo Morelli has been elected Fellow of the Econometric Society – and Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory – mostly for his contributions to bargaining, political economy and economics of conflict, while his current work also deals with causes and consequences of populism and law and economics in general. He obtained a PhD in economics from Harvard in 1996 and went back to Italy (Bocconi) in 2014, after having taught at multiple universities in the US, including Columbia University. He has been an active member of the Council of the European Economic Association and is now chairing the Minorities in Economics (MinE) committee, with a growing passion for all diversity and inclusion concerns.

To register, sign up on Eventbrite

Public Lecture: Seelye Fellow Professor Moon Duchin – 9 March 2023

Public Lecture: Seelye Fellow Professor Moon Duchin – 9 March 2023

Speaker: Moon Duchin (Tufts University)

Title of the talk: Computing and Democracy” [slides]

Date, Time and Venue: Thursday, 9 March 2023, 18:00-20:00,OGGB4 (Room 260-073) Sir Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road

Abstract: How do groups make collective decisions? And how should they best do so? This ancient topic has been intertwined with mathematical tools in several ways throughout the ages: with the new art of probability in the 18th century, isolating axioms of fairness in the mid-20th century, and again today with computation on centre stage. Professor Duchin will discuss ways that mathematics and data science are illuminating the dynamics of voting and creating powerful tools for democracy reform.

Link to photo album

Link to radio interview by Moon Duchin while visiting UoA

NEW: Research Seminar Series “There will be donuts”!

NEW: Research Seminar Series “There will be donuts”!

We are pleased to announce a new in person research seminar series hosted by the Centre for Mathematical Social Science at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, which we called “There will be donuts.” The series will run periodically from August 2022 (frequency of meetings to be confirmed and meetings posted and announced as they get confirmed), accompanied by donuts to share. If you want to talk about theory (your own, or an interesting paper from the literature) or even give a mini-course on some area of theory you want to tell us about, then please sign up! We encourage informality, brainstorming of potential research ideas, and general enthusiasm for all things theoretical. Book your slot by emailing one of the organisers. If you want to learn some theory, then please come along. Students are particularly welcome (in the audience and on stage). And of course, donuts will be provided! Hope to see you at the seminars!

To learn more about it, visit its dedicated website at

The Organisers
Matthew Ryan (
Simona Fabrizi (
Steffen Lippert (