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Social preferences and voting: An exploration using a novel preference revealing mechanism

  • Messer, Kent D.
  • Poe, Gregory L.
  • Rondeau, Daniel
  • Schulze, William D.
  • Vossler, Christian A.

Public referenda are frequently used to determine the provision of public goods. As public programs have distributional consequences, a compelling question is what impact, if any, do social preferences have on voting behavior. This paper explores this issue using laboratory experiments wherein voting outcomes lead to a known distribution of net benefits across participants. Preferences are elicited using a novel Random Price Voting Mechanism (RPVM), which is more efficient in eliciting preferences than a dichotomous choice referendum but gives consistent results. Results suggest that social preferences, in particular a social efficiency motive, lead to economically meaningful deviations from selfish voting choices and increase the likelihood that welfare-enhancing programs are implemented.

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

Volume (Year): 94 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (April)
Pages: 308-317

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:3-4:p:308-317
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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