Counting on My Vote Not Counting: Expressive Voting in Committees
46 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2020
Date Written: November 30, 2019
How do voting institutions affect incentives of committees to vote expressively? We model the problem of a committee, whose members have different depths of reasoning, that decides whether to approve an ethical proposal. Members who vote for the proposal receive expressive utility, but all members pay a cost if the proposal is passed. The model suggests that institutional features that reduce the probability of a member being pivotal – such as larger committee size, or a more restrictive majority rule – increase the expected share of votes in favour of the ethical alternative. A laboratory experiment with a charitable donation framing demonstrates comparative statics that are in line with these results. Furthermore, we structurally estimate the distribution of expressive preferences across individuals. We also find that a high proportion of subjects are strategically naive.
Keywords: expressive voting, committees, pivotality, laboratory experiment
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