Unequal Altruism and the Voting Paradox

Tun-Jen Chiang

George Mason University School of Law

April 6, 2012

George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 12-36

In the altruism model of voting, the social benefits of an electoral outcome is considered to offset the low probability of casting a decisive vote, thereby overcoming the voting paradox. One problem with this model is that it assumes both a clearly superior electoral outcome for society and some probability of a tied vote. These two propositions stand in tension with each other.

This Article presents a modified model of altruistic voting. It assumes voter altruism toward selected groups instead of toward the general population. The unequally altruistic voter model not only overcomes the deficiencies of the Edlin, Gelman and Kaplan (2008) model, but also has implications for an integrated analysis of voter turnout, candidate selection, and interest group strategy.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 37

Keywords: voting paradox, altruism, median voter, selective altruism

JEL Classification: D72

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Date posted: April 7, 2012 ; Last revised: April 18, 2012

Suggested Citation

Chiang, Tun-Jen, Unequal Altruism and the Voting Paradox (April 6, 2012). George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 12-36. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2035566 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2035566

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Tun-Jen Chiang (Contact Author)
George Mason University School of Law ( email )

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