The Neuroeconomics of Voting: Neural Evidence of Different Sources of Utility in Voting
AbstractWhich motives drive the decision of a voter to approve or reject a policy proposal? The Public Choice literature distinguishes between instrumental and expressive voting motives. We investigate the importance of these motives by analysing the patterns of neural activity in different voting situations. We conduct an fMRI-experiment which investigates neural activation at the moment of voting and use the altruism scale proposed by Tankersley et al. (2007) to differentiate between altruists and non-altruists. Non-altruists show neural activation patterns that are consistent with expressive voting motives. Among non-altruists, we also find activation patterns that point at egoistic instrumental motives. Both results are in line with the corresponding Public Choice literature. On the other hand, we find no evidence for expressive voting motives among altruists. Their neural activation pattern is generally much less conclusive with respect to the underlying motives.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung) in its series MAGKS Papers on Economics with number 201234.
Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming in
Voting behavior; expressive voting; instrumental voting; political decision making; charitable donation; neuroscience; neuroeconomics; neuropolitical; fMRI;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- D87 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Neuroeconomics
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-07-23 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2012-07-23 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-EXP-2012-07-23 (Experimental Economics)
- NEP-NEU-2012-07-23 (Neuroeconomics)
- NEP-POL-2012-07-23 (Positive Political Economics)
- NEP-SOC-2012-07-23 (Social Norms & Social Capital)
- NEP-UPT-2012-07-23 (Utility Models & Prospect Theory)
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.:
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