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Voting Motives, Group Identity, and Social Norms

Author

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  • Carlsson, Fredrik

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

  • Johansson-Stenman, Olof

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

The conventional rational voter model has problems explaining why people vote, since the costs typically exceed the expected benefits. This paper presents Swedish survey evidence suggesting that people vote based on a combination of instrumental and expressive motives, and that people are strongly influenced by a social norm saying that it is an obligation to vote. Women and older individuals are more affected by this norm than others. The more rightwing a person is, the less unethical he/she will perceive selfish voting to be. Moreover, individuals believe that they themselves vote less selfishly than others and that people with similar political views as themselves vote less selfishly than people with the opposite political views, which is consistent with social identity theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlsson, Fredrik & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2009. "Voting Motives, Group Identity, and Social Norms," Working Papers in Economics 366, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0366
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/20427
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Olof Johansson-Stenman & James Konow, 2010. "Fair Air: Distributive Justice and Environmental Economics," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 46(2), pages 147-166, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    social norms; self-interested voting; expressive voting; sociotropic voting; selfserving bias; group identity; in-group bias; social identity theory;

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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