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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. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Standardization, Compatibility, and Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 70-83, Spring.
  2. Roger B. Myerson, 1997. "Large Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1189, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Rotemberg, Julio J., 2008. "Minimally acceptable altruism and the ultimatum game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(3-4), pages 457-476, June.
  4. 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.
  5. Copeland, Cassandra & Laband, David N, 2002. " Expressiveness and Voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 110(3-4), pages 351-63, March.
  6. Geoffrey Brennan & Alan Hamlin, 1998. "Expressive voting and electoral equilibrium," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 149-175, April.
  7. 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.
  8. Timothy Feddersen & Alvaro Sandroni, 2006. "A Theory of Participation in Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1271-1282, September.
  9. 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.
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Cited by:
  1. Dan Kovenock J. & Brian Roberson, 2009. "Non-Partisan 'Get-Out-the-Vote' Efforts and Policy Outcomes," CESifo Working Paper Series 2815, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Landi, M. & Sodini, M., 2012. "An evolutionary analysis of turnout with conformist citizens," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 1431-1447.
  3. Schnellenbach, Jan & Schubert, Christian, 2014. "Behavioral public choice: A survey," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 14/03, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
  4. R. Aytimur & Aristotelis Boukouras & Robert Schwager, 2014. "Voting as a signaling device," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 55(3), pages 753-777, April.
  5. Hamlin, Alan & Jennings, Colin, 2009. "Expressive Political Behaviour: Foundations, Scope and Implications," SIRE Discussion Papers 2009-41, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  6. 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.
  7. R. Emre Aytimur & Aristotelis Boukouras & Robert Schwager, 2012. "Voting as a Signaling Device," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 108, Courant Research Centre PEG.
  8. Rotemberg, Julio J., 2014. "Charitable giving when altruism and similarity are linked," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 36-49.
  9. 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.

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