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Attitude-dependent altruism, turnout and voting

  • Julio Rotemberg

    ()

This paper presents a goal-oriented model of political participation based on two psychological assumptions. The first is that people are more altruistic towards individuals that agree with them and the second is that people’s well being rises when other people share their personal opinions. By conveying credible information on attitudes, votes give pleasure to individuals who agree with them and thereby confer vicarious utility on voters. Substantial equilibrium turnout emerges with nontrivial voting costs and modest altruism. The model can explain higher turnout in close elections as well as higher turnout by more informed and more educated individuals. For certain parameters, the model predicts that third party candidates will lose votes to more popular candidates, a phenomenon often called strategic voting. For other parameters, the model predicts ‘vote-stealing’ where the addition of a third candidate robs a major candidate of electoral support.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-009-9422-2
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 140 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 223-244

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:140:y:2009:i:1:p:223-244
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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  1. Bendor, Jonathan & Diermeier, Daniel & Ting, Michael M., 2000. "A Behavioral Model of Turnout," Research Papers 1627, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  2. Geoffrey Brennan & Alan Hamlin, 1998. "Expressive voting and electoral equilibrium," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 149-175, April.
  3. Timothy J. Feddersen, 2004. "Rational Choice Theory and the Paradox of Not Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 99-112, Winter.
  4. Julio J. Rotemberg, 2006. "Minimally acceptable altruism and the ultimatum game," Working Papers 06-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  5. Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "The Swing Voter's Curse," Discussion Papers 1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Standardization, Compatibility, and Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 70-83, Spring.
  7. Roger B. Myerson, 1997. "Large Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1189, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Timothy Feddersen & Alvaro Sandroni, 2006. "A Theory of Participation in Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1271-1282, September.
  9. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  10. Copeland, Cassandra & Laband, David N, 2002. " Expressiveness and Voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 110(3-4), pages 351-63, March.
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