Higher Costs Appeal to Voters

Posted: 27 Jun 2016

See all articles by J. R. Clark

J. R. Clark

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Dwight Lee

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business - Department of Economics

Date Written: June 27, 2016

Abstract

The logic of expressive voting implies that some will find voting for a government policy more appealing the more costly it is. This result is consistent with polling results on public opinion and government spending and expands on the ability of rational voter ignorance and apathy to explain the latitude politicians have to ignore the cost they impose on tax payers without losing votes. The appeal of higher costs to voters makes it easier for organized-interest groups to exploit the good intentions of voters by capturing private advantage by sabotaging the hopes upon which those good intentions are based. The appeal higher costs have for some voters also suggests another way bootleggers can benefit from the moral cover Baptists provide for their rent-seeking activities. We also point out that expressive voting implies that there is no reason for believing that the special-interest activity that sabotages the moral intentions of voters are in general any less moral than morally-motivated voters.

Keywords: Expressive voting, rational voter ignorance, rational voter apathy, Baptists, bootleggers, rent seeking

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Clark, Jeff R. and Lee, Dwight, Higher Costs Appeal to Voters (June 27, 2016). Public Choice, Vol. 167, No. 1, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2801227

Jeff R. Clark (Contact Author)

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga ( email )

Department of Economics
Suite 313 Fletcher Hall
Chattanooga, TN 37403-2598
United States

Dwight Lee

University of Georgia - C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry College of Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

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