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Attitude-Dependent Altruism, Turnout and Voting

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  • Julio J. Rotemberg

Abstract

This paper presents a goal-oriented model of political participation based on two psychological assumptions. The first is that people are more altruistic towards individuals that agree with them and the second is that people's well-being rises when other people share their personal opinions. The act of voting is then a source of vicarious utility because it raises the well-being of individuals that agree with the voter. Substantial equilibrium turnout emerges with nontrivial voting costs and modest altruism. The model can explain higher turnout in close elections as well as votes for third-party candidates with no prospect of victory. For certain parameters, these third party candidates lose votes to more popular candidates, a phenomenon often called strategic voting. For other parameters, the model predicts "vote-stealing" where the addition of a third candidate robs a viable major candidate of electoral support.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14302.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Publication status: published as Julio Rotemberg, 2009. "Attitude-dependent altruism, turnout and voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(1), pages 223-244, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14302

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  1. Copeland, Cassandra & Laband, David N, 2002. " Expressiveness and Voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 110(3-4), pages 351-63, March.
  2. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2006. "Minimally acceptable altruism and the ultimatum game," Working Papers 06-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  3. Myerson, Roger B., 2000. "Large Poisson Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 7-45, September.
  4. 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.
  5. Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "The Swing Voter's Curse," Discussion Papers 1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Brennan, Geoffrey & Hamlin, Alan, 1998. " Expressive Voting and Electoral Equilibrium," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1-2), pages 149-75, April.
  7. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  8. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1984. "Standardization, Compatibility and Innovation," Working papers 345, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Timothy Feddersen & Alvaro Sandroni, 2006. "A Theory of Participation in Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1271-1282, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Kovenock, Dan & Roberson, Brian, 2009. "Non-partisan 'Get-out-the-vote' efforts and policy outcomes," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2009-07, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  2. Schwager, Robert & Aytimur, R. Emre & Boukouras, Aristotelis, 2012. "Voting as a Signaling Device," Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century 62075, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  3. R. Aytimur & Aristotelis Boukouras & Robert Schwager, 2014. "Voting as a signaling device," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 55(3), pages 753-777, April.
  4. Rotemberg, Julio J., 2014. "Charitable giving when altruism and similarity are linked," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 36-49.
  5. Alan Hamlin & Colin Jennings, 2009. "Expressive Political Behaviour: Foundations, Scope and Implications," Working Papers 0918, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
  6. Massimiliano Landi & Mauro Sodini, 2010. "An Evolutionary Analysis of Turnout With Conformist Citizens," Working Papers 25-2010, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
  7. Giebe, Thomas & Gürtler, Oliver, 2008. "Optimal Contracts for Lenient Supervisors," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 237, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  8. Schnellenbach, Jan & Schubert, Christian, 2014. "Behavioral public choice: A survey," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 14/03, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
  9. Adam Pigoń, 2013. "What Affects Voter Turnout? Macro and Micro Evidence from Poland," Collegium of Economic Analysis Annals, Warsaw School of Economics, Collegium of Economic Analysis, issue 32, pages 77-105.

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