Evidence of bias in the Eurovision song contest: modelling the votesusing Bayesian hierarchical models


The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual musical competition heldamong active members of the European Broadcasting Union since 1956.The event is televised live across Europe. Each participating countrypresents a song and receive a vote based on a combination of tele-votingand jury. Over the years, this has led to speculations of tacticalvoting, discriminating against some participants and thus inducingbias in the final results. In this paper we investigate the presenceof positive or negative bias (which may roughly indicate favouritismsor discrimination) in the votes based on geographical proximity,migration and cultural characteristics of the participating countriesthrough a Bayesian hierarchical model. Our analysis found no evidenceof negative bias, although mild positive bias does seem to emergesystematically, linking voters to performers. © 2014 The Author(s).Published by Taylor & Francis.

Journal of Applied Statistics
Gianluca Baio
Gianluca Baio
Professor of Statistics and Health Economics