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Sheep and their herders: testing the myth of rational voters – a Latvian case study

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  • Daniel Brou
  • Kirk A. Collins
  • Brent McKenzie

Abstract

Through the use of a simple behavioural political economy model, we cast doubt on the assumption that voters behave in predictable ways dependent on their expected support for government policies. We show that under certain conditions an unfavourable (i.e. welfare reducing) policy may result, even with well-informed, welfare maximising voters. While true that voter behaviour may align with government policies, this alignment has more to do with a perceived lack of influence, rather than policy support. The case of Latvia's accession to the European Union is used as a case study to evaluate the government's policy in terms of voting behaviour. Both qualitative research by way of focus group sessions and a quantitative research survey are used to develop and test a simple political economy model. Findings indicate that voters evaluate the expected benefits from a policy, and the government's stated position, as separate factors.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Brou & Kirk A. Collins & Brent McKenzie, 2011. "Sheep and their herders: testing the myth of rational voters – a Latvian case study," International Journal of Economics and Business Research, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 3(1), pages 103-117.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijecbr:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:103-117
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