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Voting when Money and Morals Conflict - An Experimental Test of Expressive Voting

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  • Jean-Robert Tyran

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Abstract

Moral considerations may matter much in voting because the costs of expressing support for a morally worthy cause may be low in a referendum. These costs depend on whether a voter expects to affect the outcome of the referendum. To test the low-cost theory of expressive voting, we experimentally investigate a proposal to tax everyone and donate tax revenues. The analysis of expectations and voting decisions shows that expressive voting is common. However, the low-cost theory fails to explain voting decisions. Instead of affecting the costs of expressive voting, expectations appear to affect its benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Robert Tyran, 2002. "Voting when Money and Morals Conflict - An Experimental Test of Expressive Voting," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2002 2002-07, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2002:2002-07
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Expressive voting; low-cost theory; laboratory experiments.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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