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Voting as a Signaling Device

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  • Schwager, Robert
  • Aytimur, R. Emre
  • Boukouras, Aristotelis

Abstract

In this paper, citizens vote in order to influence the election outcome and in order to signal their unobserved characteristics to others. The model is one of rational voting and generates the following predictions: (i) The paradox of not voting does not arise, because the benefit of voting does not vanish with population size. (ii) Turnout in elections is positively related to the importance of social interactions. (iii) Voting may exhibit bandwagon effects and small changes in the electoral incentives may generate large changes in turnout due to signaling effects. (iv) Signaling incentives increase the sensitivity of turnout to voting incentives in communities with low opportunity cost of social interaction, while the opposite is true for communities with high cost of social interaction. Therefore, the model predicts that smaller communities have more volatile turnout than larger communities. --

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Paper provided by Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association in its series Annual Conference 2012 (Goettingen): New Approaches and Challenges for the Labor Market of the 21st Century with number 62075.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc12:62075

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Web page: http://www.socialpolitik.org/
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  1. Tilman Börgers, 2001. "Costly Voting," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 625018000000000232, www.najecon.org.
  2. 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.
  3. Helios Herrera & Cesar Martinelli, 2005. "Group Formation and Voter Participation," Working Papers 0502, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  4. Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 1996. "Why people vote: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 417-442, August.
  5. Julio Rotemberg, 2009. "Attitude-dependent altruism, turnout and voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(1), pages 223-244, July.
  6. Brennan, Geoffrey & Hamlin, Alan, 1998. " Expressive Voting and Electoral Equilibrium," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1-2), pages 149-75, April.
  7. Posner, Eric A, 1998. "Symbols, Signals, and Social Norms in Politics and the Law," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 765-98, June.
  8. Amrita Dhillon & Susana Peralta, 2002. "Economic Theories Of Voter Turnout," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages F332-F352, June.
  9. Castanheira, Micael, 2003. "Victory margins and the paradox of voting," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 817-841, November.
  10. Stephen Coate & Michael Conlin, 2004. "A Group Rule–Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1476-1504, December.
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