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Altruism and voting: A large-turnout result that does not rely on civic duty or cooperative behavior

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  • Evren, Özgür

Abstract

I propose a game-theoretic model of costly voting that predicts significant turnout rates even when the electorate is arbitrarily large. The model has two key features that jointly drive the result: (i) some agents are altruistic (or ethical), (ii) among the agents who prefer any given candidate, the fraction of altruistic agents is uncertain. When deciding whether to vote or not, an altruistic agent compares her private voting cost with the expected contribution of her vote to the welfare of the society. Under suitable homogeneity assumptions, the asymptotic predictions of my model coincide with those of Feddersen and Sandroni [12] up to potential differences between the respective parameters that measure the importance of the election. I demonstrate with an example that these homogeneity assumptions are not necessary for qualitative predictions of my model. I also show that when the fractions of altruistic agents are known, turnout rates will typically be close to zero in a large election, despite the presence of altruism.

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  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:147:y:2012:i:6:p:2124-2157
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2012.09.005
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    Cited by:

    1. Le Breton, Michel & Lepelley, Dominique & Smaoui, Hatem, 2012. "The Probability of Casting a Decisive Vote: From IC to IAC trhough Ehrhart's Polynomials and Strong Mixing," IDEI Working Papers 722, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    2. David Juárez-Luna & Christian Ghiglino, 2014. "Elite capture of democratic politics: the role of social identity," Working papers DTE 573, CIDE, División de Economía.
    3. Pedro Robalo & Arthur Schram & Joep Sonnemans, 2013. "Other-regarding Preferences, Group Identity and Political Participation: An Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-079/I, Tinbergen Institute.
    4. Alberto Grillo, 2017. "Risk aversion and bandwagon effect in the pivotal voter model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 172(3), pages 465-482, September.
    5. Marco Faravelli & Kenan Kalayci & Carlos Pimienta, 2020. "Costly voting: a large-scale real effort experiment," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 23(2), pages 468-492, June.
    6. Morton, Rebecca B. & Ou, Kai, 2015. "What motivates bandwagon voting behavior: Altruism or a desire to win?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 224-241.
    7. repec:esx:essedp:751 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Daniel Kling & Thomas Stratmann, 2016. "The Efficacy of Political Advertising: A Voter Participation Field Experiment with Multiple Robo Calls and Controls for Selection Effects," CESifo Working Paper Series 6195, CESifo.
    9. Christina Luxen, 2020. "Pollsand Elections: Strategic Respondents and Turnout Implications," ECONtribute Discussion Papers Series 020, University of Bonn and University of Cologne, Germany.
    10. Robalo, Pedro & Schram, Arthur & Sonnemans, Joep, 2017. "Other-regarding preferences, in-group bias and political participation: An experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 130-154.
    11. Marco Faravelli & Santiago Sanchez-Pages, 2015. "(Don’t) Make My Vote Count," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 27(4), pages 544-569, October.
    12. David Juárez-Luna & Christian Ghiglino, 2014. "Elite capture of democratic politics: the role of social identity," Working papers DTE 573, CIDE, División de Economía.
    13. Gintis, Herbert, 2016. "Homo Ludens: Social rationality and political behavior," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 126(PB), pages 95-109.
    14. 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.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Altruism; Utilitarianism; Voting; Turnout; Pivotal voter; Aggregate uncertainty;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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