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Social preferences and voting: An exploration using a novel preference revealing mechanism

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  • Messer, Kent D.
  • Poe, Gregory L.
  • Rondeau, Daniel
  • Schulze, William D.
  • Vossler, Christian A.

Abstract

Public referenda are frequently used to determine the provision of public goods. As public programs have distributional consequences, a compelling question is what impact, if any, do social preferences have on voting behavior. This paper explores this issue using laboratory experiments wherein voting outcomes lead to a known distribution of net benefits across participants. Preferences are elicited using a novel Random Price Voting Mechanism (RPVM), which is more efficient in eliciting preferences than a dichotomous choice referendum but gives consistent results. Results suggest that social preferences, in particular a social efficiency motive, lead to economically meaningful deviations from selfish voting choices and increase the likelihood that welfare-enhancing programs are implemented.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 94 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (April)
Pages: 308-317

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:3-4:p:308-317

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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Keywords: Voting Social preferences Random price voting mechanism;

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References

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  1. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2004. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 857-869, September.
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  11. Matthew J. Kotchen & Shawn M. Powers, 2004. "Explaining The Appearance and Success of Voter Referenda For Open-Space Conservation," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-06, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  12. Thomas P. Holmes, 1990. "Self-Interest, Altruism, and Health-Risk Reduction: An Economic Analysis of Voting Behavior," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 66(2), pages 140-149.
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Cited by:
  1. Messer, Kent D. & Poe, Gregory L. & Schulze, William D., 2008. "The Value of Private Risk Versus the Value of Public Risk: An Experimental Analysis of the Johannesson et al. Conjecture," Working Papers 51141, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
  2. Krawczyk, MichaƂ, 2012. "Testing for hypothetical bias in willingness to support a reforestation program," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 282-289.
  3. G. Pignataro & G. Prarolo, 2012. "One more in my backyard? Insights from the 2011 Italian nuclear referendum," Working Papers wp837, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

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