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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 role if any 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 a more parsimonious mechanism than dichotomous choice referenda, but gives consistent results. Results suggest that social preferences, in particular a social efficiency motive, lead to economically meaningful deviations from self-interested voting choices and increase the likelihood that welfare-enhancing programs are implemented.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management in its series Working Papers with number 51132.

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Date of creation: 18 Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ags:cudawp:51132

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Related research

Keywords: Institutional and Behavioral Economics; Research Methods/ Statistical Methods; C91; C92; D64; D72; H41;

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References

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  1. Bohnet, Iris & Frey, Bruno S., 1999. "The sound of silence in prisoner's dilemma and dictator games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 43-57, January.
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  4. Gary Charness & Matthew Rabin, 2003. "Understanding Social Preferences with Simple Tests," General Economics and Teaching 0303002, EconWPA.
  5. 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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  7. 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.
  8. Engelmann,Dirk & Strobel,Martin, 2002. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments," Research Memorandum 015, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  9. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  10. Taylor, Laura O. & McKee, Michael & Laury, Susan K. & Cummings, Ronald G., 2001. "Induced-value tests of the referendum voting mechanism," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 61-65, April.
  11. Attiyeh, Greg & Franciosi, Robert & Isaac, R Mark, 2000. " Experiments with the Pivot Process for Providing Public Goods," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 102(1-2), pages 95-114, January.
  12. Dirk Engelmann & Martin Strobel, 2006. "Inequality Aversion, Efficiency, and Maximin Preferences in Simple Distribution Experiments: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1918-1923, December.
  13. Satterthwaite, Mark Allen, 1975. "Strategy-proofness and Arrow's conditions: Existence and correspondence theorems for voting procedures and social welfare functions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 187-217, April.
  14. Gibbard, Allan, 1973. "Manipulation of Voting Schemes: A General Result," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 587-601, July.
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  16. Deacon, Robert T & Shapiro, Perry, 1975. "Private Preference for Collective Goods Revealed Through Voting on Referenda," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 943-55, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Krawczyk, Michał, 2012. "Testing for hypothetical bias in willingness to support a reforestation program," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 282-289.
  2. Christian A. Vossler & Maurice Doyon & Daniel Rondeau, 2012. "Truth in Consequentiality: Theory and Field Evidence on Discrete Choice Experiments," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 145-71, November.
  3. Johnston, Marie, 2014. "Contingent Valuation: A Comparison of Referendum and Voluntary Contribution Mechanisms," 2014 Conference (58th), February 4-7, 2014, Port Maquarie, Australia 165843, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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