Choice under Pressure: A Dual Preference Model and Its Application

48 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2009

See all articles by Tolga Koker

Tolga Koker

Yale University - Department of Economics

Date Written: March 25, 2009


By making a distinction between public and private preferences, the paper presents a dual preference model depicting possible responses (i.e., exit, sincere voice and self-subversion) to social pressures from two opposing pressure groups. Exit is deserting the setting; sincere voice is publicly expressing dissatisfaction and self-subversion is the misrepresentation of one's private preference under social pressures. Exit and sincere voice involve prohibitive costs, making self-subversion the superior option. Massive self-subversion polarizes the society, harboring multiple social equilibria with oscillating public opinion. In an effort to dominate the public discourse, each rival pressure group opts for favorable corner equilibrium. The paper applies the dual preference model to Turkey where two kinds of self-subversion appear in response to competing Islamist and secularist social projects. Islamist pressures lead to pro-Islamist self-subversion, and secularist pressures to pro-secularist self-subversion, resulting in the polarization of the Turkish public opinion along Islamists vs. Secularists. Three field experiments with 450 respondents provide empirical support for the model's conclusions. The paper ends with the discussion of the model's implications for new social equilibrium(s).

Keywords: Public preference, private preference, pressure group, exit, sincere voice, self-subversion, multiple equilibria, public opinion, polarization, Islam, secularism, Turkey

JEL Classification: D58, D70, D72, D79, D82, Z12

Suggested Citation

Koker, Tolga, Choice under Pressure: A Dual Preference Model and Its Application (March 25, 2009). Yale Economics Department Working Paper No. 60. Available at SSRN:

Tolga Koker (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

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