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

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Messer, Kent D. & Poe, Gregory L. & Rondeau, Daniel & Schulze, William D. & Vossler, Christian A., 2010. "Social preferences and voting: An exploration using a novel preference revealing mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(3-4), pages 308-317, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:94:y:2010:i:3-4:p:308-317
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    Cited by:

    1. Kesternich, Iris & Schumacher, Heiner & Winter, Joachim, 2015. "Professional norms and physician behavior: Homo oeconomicus or homo hippocraticus?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 1-11.
    2. repec:kap:enreec:v:70:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s10640-017-0113-z is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Christian A. Vossler, 2016. "Chamberlin Meets Ciriacy-Wantrup: Using Insights from Experimental Economics to Inform Stated Preference Research," Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics/Revue canadienne d'agroeconomie, Canadian Agricultural Economics Society/Societe canadienne d'agroeconomie, vol. 64(1), pages 33-48, March.
    4. Nicolas Jacquemet & Alexander James & Stéphane Luchini & Jason F. Shogren, 2017. "Referenda Under Oath," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 67(3), pages 479-504, July.
    5. Daniel A. Brent & Lata Gangadharan & Anke Leroux & Paul A. Raschky, 2016. "Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is," Monash Economics Working Papers 42-16, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    6. Messer, Kent D. & Poe, Gregory L. & Schulze, William D., 2008. "The Value of Private Risk Versus the Value of Public Risk: An Experimental Analysis of the Johannesson et al. Conjecture," Working Papers 51141, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    7. Vivian Hoffmann & Jacob R. Fooks & Kent D. Messer, 2014. "Measuring and Mitigating HIV Stigma: A Framed Field Experiment," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 62(4), pages 701-726.
    8. Pascal Courty & Daniel Rondeau & Maurice Doyon, 2015. "Unbundling Truthful Revelation when Auctioning Bundled Goods," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(4), pages 2512-2517.
    9. Markussen, Thomas & Putterman, Louis & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2016. "Judicial error and cooperation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 372-388.
    10. Christian A. Vossler & Maurice Doyon & Daniel Rondeau, 2012. "Truth in Consequentiality: Theory and Field Evidence on Discrete Choice Experiments," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 145-171, November.
    11. Johnston, Marie, 2014. "Contingent Valuation: A Comparison of Referendum and Voluntary Contribution Mechanisms," 2014 Conference (58th), February 4-7, 2014, Port Maquarie, Australia 165843, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    12. G. Pignataro & G. Prarolo, 2012. "One more in my backyard? Insights from the 2011 Italian nuclear referendum," Working Papers wp837, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    13. Johannes Meya & Panu Poutvaara & Robert Schwager, 2015. "Pocketbook Voting and Social Preferences in Referenda," CESifo Working Paper Series 5267, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. Christian A. Vossler & Ewa Zawojska, 2018. "Toward a better understanding of elicitation effects in stated preference studies," Working Papers 2018-01, University of Tennessee, Department of Economics.
    15. Kecinski, Maik & Kerley Keisner, Deborah & Messer, Kent D. & Schulze, William D., 2016. "Stigma mitigation and the importance of redundant treatments," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 44-52.
    16. Krawczyk, Michał, 2012. "Testing for hypothetical bias in willingness to support a reforestation program," Journal of Forest Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 282-289.
    17. Christian Vossler & J. Scott Holladay, 2016. "Alternative Value Elicitation Formats in Contingent Valuation: A New Hope," Working Papers 2016-02, University of Tennessee, Department of Economics.
    18. Meya, Johannes & Poutvaara, Panu & Schwager, Robert, 2017. "Pocketbook Voting, Social Preferences, and Expressive Motives in Referenda," Discussion Papers in Economics 38425, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
    19. Buckley, Neil & Cuff, Katherine & Hurley, Jeremiah & Mestelman, Stuart & Thomas, Stephanie & Cameron, David, 2015. "Support for public provision of a private good with top-up and opt-out: A controlled laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 177-196.
    20. Giuseppe Albanese & Marika Cioffi & Pietro Tommasino, 2017. "Legislators' behaviour and electoral rules: evidence from an Italian reform," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1135, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voting Social preferences Random price voting mechanism;

    JEL classification:

    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • 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
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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