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Voting as an act of contribution

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  • Melvin Hinich

Abstract

This paper presents a theory which rationalizes voting in terms of the marginal utility a citizen derives from contributing a small amount of effort in the political process when the cost of voting is small. Citizens abstain when the marginal cost of voting exceeds the marginal perceived benefit. A simple choice rule for voting in a two candidate race is derived from the theory. This rule depends on the voter's subjective belief about the election outcome as well as his preferences for the candidates. The key assumption is that the voter's utility increases if he votes for a winner, or decreases if he votes for a loser. This assumption is no less plausible than the assumption that voters believe they can be pivotal. Copyright Martinus Nijhoff Publishers bv 1981

Suggested Citation

  • Melvin Hinich, 1981. "Voting as an act of contribution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 135-140, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:36:y:1981:i:1:p:135-140
    DOI: 10.1007/BF00163775
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/BF00163775
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bernard Grofman, 1983. "Models of voter turnout: a brief idiosyncratic review," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 55-61, January.
    2. Guillermo Owen & Bernard Grofman, 1984. "To vote or not to vote: The paradox of nonvoting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 311-325, January.
    3. Mathew McCubbins & Terry Sullivan, 1984. "Constituency influences on legislative policy choice," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 299-319, August.
    4. Peter Bönisch & Benny Geys & Claus Michelsen, 2015. "David and Goliath in the Poll Booth: Group Size, Voting Power and Voter Turnout," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1491, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    5. Morton, Rebecca B. & Ou, Kai, 2015. "What motivates bandwagon voting behavior: Altruism or a desire to win?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PB), pages 224-241.
    6. Thomas Schwartz, 1987. "Your vote counts on account of the way it is counted: An institutional solution to the paradox of not voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 101-121, January.
    7. repec:eee:pubeco:v:154:y:2017:i:c:p:34-48 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. W. Crain & Donald Leavens & Lynn Abbot, 1987. "Voting and not voting at the same time," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 53(3), pages 221-229, January.
    9. Haldun Evrenk & Chien-Yuan Sher, 2015. "Social interactions in voting behavior: distinguishing between strategic voting and the bandwagon effect," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 162(3), pages 405-423, March.

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