IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ebl/ecbull/eb-11-00290.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Can non-expected utility theories explain the paradox of not voting?

Author

Listed:
  • Serge Blondel

    () (GRANEM (University of Angers))

  • Louis Lévy-garboua

    () (CES (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne))

Abstract

Many people vote in large elections with costs to vote although the expected benefits would seem to be infinitesimal to a rational mind. We exhibit two necessary conditions that a theory of rational decision must satisfy in order to solve the paradox. We then show that prospect and regret theories cannot solve it because each theory meets either one or the other necessary condition, but not both. However, the paradox of not voting is consistent with an amended version of third-generation prospect theory in which the reference is merely to vote or abstain.

Suggested Citation

  • Serge Blondel & Louis Lévy-garboua, 2011. "Can non-expected utility theories explain the paradox of not voting?," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 31(4), pages 3158-3168.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-11-00290
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/Pubs/EB/2011/Volume31/EB-11-V31-I4-P286.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David E. Bell, 1982. "Regret in Decision Making under Uncertainty," Operations Research, INFORMS, vol. 30(5), pages 961-981, October.
    2. Guillermo Owen & Bernard Grofman, 1984. "To vote or not to vote: The paradox of nonvoting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 311-325, January.
    3. Wakker,Peter P., 2010. "Prospect Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521765015.
    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. Neilson, William S & Stowe, Jill, 2002. "A Further Examination of Cumulative Prospect Theory Parameterizations," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 31-46, January.
    6. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    7. John Ledyard, 1984. "The pure theory of large two-candidate elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 7-41, January.
    8. Bendor, Jonathan & Diermeier, Daniel & Ting, Michael, 2003. "A Behavioral Model of Turnout," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 97(2), pages 261-280, May.
    9. Ulrich Schmidt & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 2008. "Third-generation prospect theory," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 203-223, June.
    10. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    11. Bendor, Jonathan & Diermeier, Daniel & Ting, Michael M., 2000. "A Behavioral Model of Turnout," Research Papers 1627, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    12. Myerson, Roger B., 2000. "Large Poisson Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 7-45, September.
    13. Loomes, Graham & Sugden, Robert, 1982. "Regret Theory: An Alternative Theory of Rational Choice under Uncertainty," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(368), pages 805-824, December.
    14. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Rosenthal, Howard, 1985. "Voter Participation and Strategic Uncertainty," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 62-78, March.
    15. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    16. Quiggin, John, 1982. "A theory of anticipated utility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, December.
    17. Riker, William H. & Ordeshook, Peter C., 1968. "A Theory of the Calculus of Voting," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(1), pages 25-42, March.
    18. Hong, Chew Soo & Konrad, Kai A, 1998. "Bandwagon Effects and Two-Party Majority Voting," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 165-172, May-June.
    19. Riker, William H. & Ordeshook, Peter C., 1968. "A Theory of the Calculus of Voting," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 62(1), pages 25-42, March.
    20. Ferejohn, John A. & Fiorina, Morris P., 1974. "The Paradox of Not Voting: A Decision Theoretic Analysis," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 68(2), pages 525-536, June.
    21. Chris Starmer, 2000. "Developments in Non-expected Utility Theory: The Hunt for a Descriptive Theory of Choice under Risk," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(2), pages 332-382, June.
    22. Blais, Andre & Young, Robert, 1999. "Why Do People Vote? An Experiment in Rationality," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 99(1-2), pages 39-55, April.
    23. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753.
    24. Fischer, A J, 1999. "The Probability of Being Decisive," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 101(3-4), pages 267-283, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Julio Rotemberg, 2009. "Attitude-dependent altruism, turnout and voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(1), pages 223-244, July.
    2. 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.
    3. Fosco, Constanza & Laruelle, Annick & Sánchez, Angel, 2009. "Turnout Intention and Social Networks," IKERLANAK 2009-34, Universidad del País Vasco - Departamento de Fundamentos del Análisis Económico I.
    4. Herrmann, Oliver & Jong-A-Pin, Richard & Schoonbeek, Lambert, 2019. "A prospect-theory model of voter turnout," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 362-373.
    5. Martorana, Marco F. & Mazza, Isidoro, 2012. "Adaptive voting: an empirical analysis of participation and choice," MPRA Paper 36165, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Martorana, Marco & Mazza, Isidoro, 2010. "Satisfaction and adaptation in voting behavior: an empirical exploration," DEMQ Working Paper Series 2010/6, University of Catania, Department of Economics and Quantitative Methods.
    7. Schnellenbach, Jan & Schubert, Christian, 2015. "Behavioral political economy: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 395-417.
    8. Evren, Özgür, 2012. "Altruism and voting: A large-turnout result that does not rely on civic duty or cooperative behavior," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(6), pages 2124-2157.
    9. Panova, Elena, 2015. "A passion for voting," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 44-65.
    10. Schnellenbach, Jan & Schubert, Christian, 2014. "Behavioral public choice: A survey," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 14/03, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
    11. John Duffy & Margit Tavits, 2008. "Beliefs and Voting Decisions: A Test of the Pivotal Voter Model," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 52(3), pages 603-618, July.
    12. Richard J. Cebula & Gordon Tullock, 2006. "An Extension of the Rational Voter Model," Chapters, in: Attiat F. Ott & Richard J. Cebula (ed.), The Elgar Companion to Public Economics, chapter 15, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Antonio Merlo, 2005. "Whither Political Economy? Theories, Facts and Issues," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-033, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 01 Dec 2005.
    14. Thomas Schwartz, 1987. "Your vote counts on account of the way it is counted: An institutional solution to the paradox of not voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 101-121, January.
    15. Valentina A. Bali & Lindon J. Robison & Richard Winder, 2020. "What Motivates People to Vote? The Role of Selfishness, Duty, and Social Motives When Voting," SAGE Open, , vol. 10(4), pages 21582440209, October.
    16. Faravelli, Marco & Man, Priscilla & Walsh, Randall, 2015. "Mandate and paternalism: A theory of large elections," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 1-23.
    17. Joseph McMurray, 2015. "The paradox of information and voter turnout," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 165(1), pages 13-23, October.
    18. Aimone, Jason A. & Butera, Luigi & Stratmann, Thomas, 2018. "Altruistic punishment in elections," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 149-160.
    19. Adrian Bruhin & Maha Manai & Luis Santos-Pinto, 2018. "Risk and Rationality:The Relative Importance of Probability Weighting and Choice Set Dependence," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 18.04, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
    20. Sobbrio, Francesco & Navarra, Pietro, 2010. "Electoral participation and communicative voting in Europe," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 185-207, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    paradox of not voting; probability transformation; reference point; regret;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-11-00290. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (John P. Conley). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.