IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/sae/ratsoc/v19y2007i3p293-314.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Voting as a Rational Choice

Author

Listed:
  • Aaron Edlin

    (Department of Economics and School of Law, University of California, Berkeley, USA, aedlin@econ.columbia.edu)

  • Andrew Gelman

    (Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science, Columbia University, New York, USA, gelman@stat.columbia.edu)

  • Noah Kaplan

    (Department of Political Science, University of Houston, Texas, USA, nkaplan@uh.edu)

Abstract

For voters with `social' preferences, the expected utility of voting is approximately independent of the size of the electorate, suggesting that rational voter turnouts can be substantial even in large elections. Less important elections are predicted to have lower turnout, but a feedback mechanism keeps turnout at a reasonable level under a wide range of conditions. The main contributions of this paper are: (1) to show how, for an individual with both selfish and social preferences, the social preferences will dominate and make it rational for a typical person to vote even in large elections; (2) to show that rational socially motivated voting has a feedback mechanism that stabilizes turnout at reasonable levels (e.g., 50% of the electorate); (3) to link the rational social-utility model of voter turnout with survey findings on socially motivated vote choice .

Suggested Citation

  • Aaron Edlin & Andrew Gelman & Noah Kaplan, 2007. "Voting as a Rational Choice," Rationality and Society, , vol. 19(3), pages 293-314, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ratsoc:v:19:y:2007:i:3:p:293-314
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://rss.sagepub.com/content/19/3/293.abstract
    Download Restriction: no

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:ratsoc:v:19:y:2007:i:3:p:293-314. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.