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Voting when money and morals conflict: an experimental test of expressive voting

  • Tyran, Jean-Robert

Moral considerations may matter much in voting because the costs of expressing support for a morally worthy cause may be low in a referendum. These costs depend on whether a voter expects to affect the outcome of the referendum. To test the low-cost theory of expressive voting, we experimentally investigate a proposal to tax everyone and donate tax revenues. The analysis of expectations and voting decisions shows that expressive voting is common. However, the low-cost theory fails to explain voting decisions. Instead of affecting the costs of expressive voting, expectations appear to affect its benefits.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 88 (2004)
Issue (Month): 7-8 (July)
Pages: 1645-1664

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:88:y:2004:i:7-8:p:1645-1664
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