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What motivates bandwagon voting behavior: Altruism or a desire to win?

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  • Morton, Rebecca B.
  • Ou, Kai

Abstract

This paper surveys the literature on psychological and strategic mental processes of bandwagon behavior, discusses the literature of bandwagon behavior in the context of the two different types, bandwagon vote choices and bandwagon abstention effects, and examines the rationality of other-regarding bandwagon vote choices. Key experimental results are reported to investigate the extent that bandwagon behavior can be explained by other-regarding preferences in contrast to a psychological desire to simply support a winner. We find support for purely psychological non-other-regarding bandwagon behavior but primarily when subjects have information about the distribution of voter choices in previous elections but individual choices are private. Interestingly, when voting is public this type of bandwagon behavior disappears and bandwagon behavior that could be other-regrading is much higher. Given that observability increases other-regarding behavior in other contexts, our results suggest that some of the observed bandwagon behavior may be explained by other-regarding preferences as well.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:40:y:2015:i:pb:p:224-241
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2015.04.009
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bernado Moreno & María del Pino Ramos-Sosa & Ismael Rodríguez-Lara, 2016. "Conformity, information and truthful voting," Working Papers 2016-01, Universidad de Málaga, Department of Economic Theory, Málaga Economic Theory Research Center.
    2. Baghdasaryan, Vardan & Iannantuoni, Giovanna & Maggian, Valeria, 2019. "Electoral fraud and voter turnout: An experimental study," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 203-219.
    3. repec:kap:pubcho:v:172:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0457-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Arenas, Andreu, 2016. "Sticky votes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 12-25.
    5. Roberto Ramos & Carlos Sanz, 2018. "Backing the incumbent in difficult times: the electoral impact of wildfires," Working Papers 1810, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    6. repec:spr:sochwe:v:53:y:2019:i:2:d:10.1007_s00355-019-01182-w is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Marco Faravelli & Kenan Kalayci & Carlos Pimienta, 2017. "Costly Voting: A Large-scale Real Effort Experiment," Discussion Papers 2017-16, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    8. Bernardo Moreno & María del Pino Ramos-Sosa & Ismael Rodriguez-Lara, 2019. "Conformity and truthful voting under different voting rules," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 53(2), pages 261-282, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bandwagon behavior; Majority voting; Other-regarding voting; Secret ballots;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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