Evolution & voting : how nature makes us public spirited
AbstractWe reconsider the classic puzzle of why election turnouts are persistently so high even though formal analysis strongly suggests that rational agents should not vote. If we assume that voters are not making systematic mistakes, the most plausible explanation seems to be that agents receive benefits from the act of voting itself. This is very close to assuming the answer, however, and immediately begs the question of why agents feel a warm glow from participating in the electoral process. In this paper, we approach the question from an evolutionary standpoint. We show for a range of situations, that public-spirited agents have an evolutionary advantage over those who are not as public-spirited. We also explore conditions under which this kind of altruistic behavior is disadvantageous to agents. The details depend on the costs of voting, the degree to which different types of agents have different preferences over public policies and the relative proportions of various preference types in the population, but we conclude that evolution may often be a force that causes agents to internalize the benefits their actions
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Warwick, Department of Economics in its series The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) with number 601.
Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2001
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- John Conley & Myrna H. Wooders & Ali Toossi, 2001. "Evolution & Voting: How Nature Makes us Public Spirited," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 28(24), pages A0.
- D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
- C7 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining 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.:
- Possajennikov, Alex, 2000. "On the evolutionary stability of altruistic and spiteful preferences," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 125-129, May.
- Reiter, Stanley, 2001.
" Interdependent Preferences and Groups of Agents,"
Journal of Public Economic Theory,
Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 3(1), pages 27-67.
- DeMichelis, Stefano & Dhillon, Amrita, 2001. "Learning in elections and voter turnout equilibria," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 608, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Jack Hirshleifer, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," UCLA Economics Working Papers 087, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Robson, Arthur J., 1996. "A Biological Basis for Expected and Non-expected Utility," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 397-424, February.
- Eshel, I. & Samuelson, L. & Shaked, A., 1996.
"Altruists, Egoists and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model,"
9612r, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
- Lagunoff, Roger, 2000.
"On the Evolution of Pareto-Optimal Behavior in Repeated Coordination Problems,"
International Economic Review,
Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(2), pages 273-93, May.
- Roger Lagunoff, 1997. "On the Evolution of Pereto Optimal Behavior in Repeated Coordination Problems," Game Theory and Information 9707003, EconWPA.
- Bolle, Friedel, 2000. "Is altruism evolutionarily stable? And envy and malevolence?: Remarks on Bester and Guth," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 131-133, May.
- William T. Harbaugh, 1996.
"If people vote because they like to, then why do so many of them lie?,"
- Harbaugh, W T, 1996. " If People Vote Because They Like to, Then Why Do So Many of Them Lie?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 89(1-2), pages 63-76, October.
- Thomas Palfrey & Howard Rosenthal, 1983. "A strategic calculus of voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 7-53, January.
- John Ledyard, 1984. "The pure theory of large two-candidate elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 7-41, January.
- James Andreoni, 1997.
"Warm-glow versus cold-prickle: the effect of positive and negative framing on cooperation in experiments,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
671, David K. Levine.
- Andreoni, James, 1995. "Warm-Glow versus Cold-Prickle: The Effects of Positive and Negative Framing on Cooperation in Experiments," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 1-21, February.
- James Andreoni, 1994. "Warm-Glow versus Cold-Prickle: The Effects of Positive and Negative Framing on Cooperation in Experiments," Experimental 9410002, EconWPA.
- Jack Hirshleifer, 1978. "Natural Economy Versus Political Economy," UCLA Economics Working Papers 129, UCLA Department of Economics.
- John P. Conley & Akram Temimi, 2001. "Endogenous Enfranchisement When Groups' Preferences Conflict," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 79-102, February.
- Becker, Gary S, 1976. "Altruism, Egoism, and Genetic Fitness: Economics and Sociobiology," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 817-26, September.
- Eshel, Ilan & Samuelson, Larry & Shaked, Avner, 1998. "Altruists, Egoists, and Hooligans in a Local Interaction Model," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 157-79, March.
- Bergstrom, Theodore C & Stark, Oded, 1993.
"How Altruism Can Prevail in an Evolutionary Environment,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 149-55, May.
- Ted Bergstrom & Oded Stark, . "How Altruism Can Prevail in an Evolutionary Environment," Papers _024, University of Michigan, Department of Economics.
- Bergstrom, T.C. & Stark, O., 1993. "How Altruism Can Prevail in an Evolutionary Environment," Papers 93-01, Michigan - Center for Research on Economic & Social Theory.
- Theodore C. Bergstrom & Oded Stark, 1994. "How Altruism Can Prevail in an Evolutionary Environment," Microeconomics 9401001, EconWPA.
- repec:att:wimass:9406 is not listed on IDEAS
- Fudenberg, Drew & Levine, David, 1998.
"Learning in games,"
European Economic Review,
Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 631-639, May.
- Hirshleifer, Jack, 1977. "Economics from a Biological Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 1-52, April.
- Bester, H. & Güth, W., 1994.
"Is altruism evolutionarily stable ?,"
1994-103, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Arthur J. Robson, 2001. "The Biological Basis of Economic Behavior," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(1), pages 11-33, March.
- Friedman, Daniel, 1991. "Evolutionary Games in Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(3), pages 637-66, May.
- Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
- Ming Li & Dipjyoti Majumdar, 2010.
"A Psychologically Based Model of Voter Turnout,"
Journal of Public Economic Theory,
Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(5), pages 979-1002, October.
- Li, Ming & Majumdar, Dipjyoti, 2006. "A psychologically-based model of voter turnout," MPRA Paper 10719, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Jun 2008.
- Ming Li & Dipjyoti Majumdar, 2006. "A psychologically-based model of voter turnout," Working Papers 08008, Concordia University, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2008.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Helen Neal).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.