Altruism and voting: A large-turnout result that does not rely on civic duty or cooperative behavior
AbstractI propose a game-theoretic model of costly voting that predicts significant turnout rates even when the electorate is arbitrarily large. The model has two key features that jointly drive the result: (i) some agents are altruistic (or ethical), (ii) among the agents who prefer any given candidate, the fraction of altruistic agents is uncertain. When deciding whether to vote or not, an altruistic agent compares her private voting cost with the expected contribution of her vote to the welfare of the society. Under suitable homogeneity assumptions, the asymptotic predictions of my model coincide with those of Feddersen and Sandroni  up to potential differences between the respective parameters that measure the importance of the election. I demonstrate with an example that these homogeneity assumptions are not necessary for qualitative predictions of my model. I also show that when the fractions of altruistic agents are known, turnout rates will typically be close to zero in a large election, despite the presence of altruism.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.
Volume (Year): 147 (2012)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869
Altruism; Utilitarianism; Voting; Turnout; Pivotal voter; Aggregate uncertainty;
Other versions of this item:
- Özgür Evren, 2012. "Altruism and Voting: A Large-Turnout Result That Does not Rely on Civic Duty or Cooperative Behavior," Working Papers w0173, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
- D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Aaron Edlin & Andrew Gelman & Noah Kaplan, 2007. "Voting as a Rational Choice: Why and How People Vote to Improve the Well-Being of Others," NBER Working Papers 13562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
- Fischer, A J, 1999. " The Probability of Being Decisive," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 101(3-4), pages 267-83, December.
- Helios Herrera & Cesar Martinelli, 2005.
"Group Formation and Voter Participation,"
0502, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
- Cesar Martinelli & Helios Herrera, 2005. "Group Formation and Voter Participation," 2005 Meeting Papers 687, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Helios Herrera & César Martinelli, 2006. "Group Formation and Voter Participation," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000463, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Helios Herrera & Cesar Martinelli, 2006. "Group Formation and Voter Participation," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000225, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Timothy Feddersen & Alvaro Sandroni, 2006. "A Theory of Participation in Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1271-1282, September.
- Timothy J. Feddersen, 2004. "Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 99-112, Winter.
- Timothy Feddersen & Alvaro Sandroni, 2006. "The calculus of ethical voting," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 1-25, December.
- Marco Faravelli & Randall Walsh, 2011.
"Smooth Politicians and Paternalistic Voters: A Theory of Large Elections,"
NBER Working Papers
17397, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Marco Faravelli & Randall Walsh, 2011. "Smooth Politicians And Paternalistic Voters: A Theory Of Large Elections," Levine's Working Paper Archive 786969000000000250, David K. Levine.
- Myerson, Roger B., 2000.
"Large Poisson Games,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 7-45, September.
- Chamberlain, Gary & Rothschild, Michael, 1981. "A note on the probability of casting a decisive vote," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 152-162, August.
- Tilman Börgers, 2001.
NajEcon Working Paper Reviews
- Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin, 2004. "A Group Rule–Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1476-1504, December.
- Barry Nalebuff & Roni Shachar, 1997.
"Follow The Leader: Theory And Evidence On Political Participation,"
Yale School of Management Working Papers
ysm57, Yale School of Management.
- Barry Nalebuff & Ron Shachar, 1999. "Follow the Leader: Theory and Evidence on Political Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 525-547, June.
- Pedro Robalo & Arthur Schram & Joep Sonnemans, 2013. "Other-regarding Preferences, Group Identity and Political Participation: An Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-079/I, Tinbergen Institute.
- Marco Faravelli & Santiago Sanchez-Pages, 2012. "(Donâ€™t) Make My Vote Count," Discussion Papers Series 464, School of Economics, University of Queensland, Australia.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wendy Shamier).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.