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