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If Extremists Vote How Do They Express Themselves? An Empirical Test of an Expressive Theory of Voting


  • Greene, Kenneth V
  • Nelson, Phillip J


The expressive theory of voting needs more specification of the motives for expression if it is not merely to be a theory of non-instrumental voting. Brennan and Hamlin (1998) provide such a specification. Unfortunately, using individual U.S. data from the General Social Surveys we find their predictions are contradicted. Nor if other evidence in the literature purported to be evidence of expressive voting actually implied by it. We believe that this is because the reason people express themselves in voting is to signal others. Copyright 2002 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Greene, Kenneth V & Nelson, Phillip J, 2002. "If Extremists Vote How Do They Express Themselves? An Empirical Test of an Expressive Theory of Voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 113(3-4), pages 425-436, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:113:y:2002:i:3-4:p:425-36

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Borcherding, Thomas E & Deacon, Robert T, 1972. "The Demand for the Services of Non-Federal Governments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 891-901, December.
    2. Pecorino, Paul, 1999. "The effect of group size on public good provision in a repeated game setting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 121-134, April.
    3. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-477, June.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:95:y:2001:i:03:p:663-672_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Paul Pecorino & Akram Temimi, 2008. "The Group Size Paradox Revisited," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 10(5), pages 785-799, October.
    6. Esteban, J. & Ray, D., 1999. "Collective Action and Group Size Paradox," Papers 23, El Instituto de Estudios Economicos de Galicia Pedro Barrie de la Maza.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen Drinkwater & Colin Jennings, 2017. "Expressive voting and two-dimensional political competition: an application to law and order policy by New Labour in the UK," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 28(1), pages 79-96, March.
    2. Jennings, Colin & Drinkwater, Stephen, 2012. "An Analysis of the Electoral Use of Policy on Law and Order by New Labour," SIRE Discussion Papers 2012-77, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    3. Christopher Blattman, 2008. "From Violence to Voting: War and political participation in Uganda," HiCN Working Papers 42, Households in Conflict Network.
    4. Gebhard Kirchgässner & Tobias Schulz, 2005. "Expected Closeness or Mobilisation: Why Do Voters Go to the Polls? Empirical Results for Switzerland, 1981 – 1999," CESifo Working Paper Series 1387, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Chun-chieh Wang, 2012. "Expressive voting, vanishing moderate voters, and divergent ideologies," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(4), pages 2727-2733.
    6. Hamlin, Alan & Jennings, Colin, 2011. "Expressive Political Behaviour: Foundations, Scope and Implications," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(03), pages 645-670, July.
    7. Arenas, Andreu, 2016. "Sticky votes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 12-25.

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