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Non-Consequentialist Voting

Moses Shayo

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics

Alon Harel

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law

Revised: March 6, 2011

Standard theory assumes that voters' preferences over actions (voting) are induced by their preferences over electoral outcomes (policies, candidates). But voters may also have non-consequentialist (NC) motivations: they may care about how they vote even if it does not affect the outcome. When the likelihood of being pivotal is small, NC motivations can dominate voting behavior. To examine the prevalence of NC motivations, we design an experiment that exogenously varies the probability of being pivotal yet holds constant other features of the decision environment. We find a significant effect, consistent with at least 12.5% of subjects being motivated by NC concerns.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 35

Keywords: Elections, Democracy, Expressive voting, Social preferences, Extended preferences

JEL Classification: C91, D01, D63, D72

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Date posted: April 19, 2010 ; Last revised: April 15, 2015

Suggested Citation

Shayo, Moses and Harel, Alon, Non-Consequentialist Voting (Revised: March 6, 2011). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1592206 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1592206

Contact Information

Moses Shayo (Contact Author)
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Department of Economics ( email )
Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, IL 91905
Alon Harel
Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law ( email )
Mount Scopus, 91905
97 22 588 2582 (Phone)
97 22 582 3042 (Fax)

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