Stochastic modeling of Congress


We analyze the dynamics of growth of the number of congressmen supporting the resolution HR1207 to audit the Federal Reserve. The plot of the total number of co-sponsors as a function of time is of "Devil's staircase" type. The distribution of the numbers of new co-sponsors joining during a particular day (step height) follows a power law.

The distribution of the length of intervals between additions of new co-sponsors (step length) also follows a power law. We use a modification of Bak-Tang-Wiesenfeld sandpile model to simulate the dynamics of Congress and obtain a good agreement with the data.

M.V. Simkin, V.P. Roychowdhury