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Attitude-Dependent Altruism, Turnout and Voting

  • Rotemberg, Julio J.

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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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5146.

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Date of creation: Jul 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5146
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  1. Rotemberg, Julio J., 2008. "Minimally acceptable altruism and the ultimatum game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 66(3-4), pages 457-476, June.
  2. Timothy Feddersen & Alvaro Sandroni, 2006. "A Theory of Participation in Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1271-1282, September.
  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. Roger B. Myerson, 1997. "Large Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1189, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1985. "Standardization, Compatibility, and Innovation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 16(1), pages 70-83, Spring.
  6. Brennan, Geoffrey & Hamlin, Alan, 1998. " Expressive Voting and Electoral Equilibrium," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1-2), pages 149-75, April.
  7. Bendor, Jonathan & Diermeier, Daniel & Ting, Michael M., 2000. "A Behavioral Model of Turnout," Research Papers 1627, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  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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