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Strategic voting and happiness

  • Francesca Acacia

    ()

    (University of Edinburgh)

  • Maria Cubel

    ()

    (University of Barcelona & IEB)

In this paper we extend the research on happiness and spatial theory of voting by exploring whether strategic and sincere voting affect subjective well-being. We conduct the analysis with data on a large sample of individuals over 50 elections in 16 OECD countries. The results of the analysis show the existence of a negative effect of strategic voting on subjective well-being. In addition, the likelihood of being satisfied decreases when individuals vote strategically for a political party that wins the electoral race. Furthermore, when we analyse separately left-wing and right-wing voters, we find that the described effect holds for left-wing voters but no for right-wing voters. We discuss this evidence in the light of expressive voting theory (Hilman, 2010) and lack of empathy with future selves (Kahneman and Thaler, 1991). Our results are robust to different measures of strategic voting and subjective well-being.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2013/19.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2013/6/doc2013-19
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  1. Andrew E. Clark and Andrew J. Oswald, . "Satisfaction and Comparison Income," Economics Discussion Papers 419, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  2. Patrick Flavin & Michael Keane, 2012. "Life Satisfaction and Political Participation: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 63-78, March.
  3. Hamlin, Alan & Jennings, Colin, 2009. "Expressive Political Behaviour: Foundations, Scope and Implications," SIRE Discussion Papers 2009-41, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
  4. Kahneman, Daniel & Thaler, Richard H, 1991. "Economic Analysis and the Psychology of Utility: Applications to Compensation Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 341-46, May.
  5. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 1999. "Partisan social happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 22-1999, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
  6. Oswald, Andrew, 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 478, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  7. Hillman, Arye L., 2010. "Expressive behavior in economics and politics," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 403-418, December.
  8. Nattavudh Powdthavee & Paul Dolan, Robert Metcalfe, 2008. "Electing Happiness: Does Happiness Effect Voting and do Elections Affect Happiness," Discussion Papers 08/30, Department of Economics, University of York.
  9. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
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