One of prior probability‘s favorite social science papers is The Standing Ovation Problem by John Miller and Scott Page. (Here is a good summary of Miller & Page’s model.) So what happens when some members of an audience are paid off by the performers on stage to applause?
For example, check out this story by Ellen Barry in the Sunday Times about Roman Abramov, who is paid to create fake ovations at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. Here is an excerpt from Ms Barry’s expose:
“Watching over all this is Mr. Abramov himself, his dark, intelligent eyes scanning the lobby. His job is to engineer applause and ovations, on the basis of secret agreements with dancers, using associates planted in the audience. These collaborations — part passion, part commerce — can go on for years; they can also occasionally sour into nasty, revengeful dramas.”
prior probability is fascinated by the pervasiveness of deception in human affairs, especially when we did not expect to observe deception of this magnitude at the ballet