Responsible Majorities? How group composition drives partisan expressive voting

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See all articles by Andrea Robbett

Andrea Robbett

Middlebury College - Department of Economics

Peter Hans Matthews

Middlebury College - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 13, 2021

Abstract

Individuals sometimes do not ``vote their beliefs" but rather to affirm their partisan affiliation. We design an experiment to determine the conditions under which voters engage in partisan expressive voting. Democrats and Republicans are asked to vote on the answers to factual questions about politics and are rewarded if the majority of their group answers correctly. To evaluate both compositional and audience effects, we vary the number of affected co-partisans and public dissemination of vote totals. We find that voters are more expressive as the numbers of co-partisans in either the population or the voting pool increase, despite the potential costs of such behavior for co-partisans. Our results thus indicate that large majorities will sometimes produce outcomes that all could regret.

Keywords: Experiment, Voting Behavior, Expressive Voting, Polarization, Information Aggregation

JEL Classification: D72, D83, C92

Suggested Citation

Robbett, Andrea and Matthews, Peter Hans, Responsible Majorities? How group composition drives partisan expressive voting (January 13, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Andrea Robbett (Contact Author)

Middlebury College - Department of Economics ( email )

Middlebury, VT 05753
United States

Peter Hans Matthews

Middlebury College - Department of Economics ( email )

Munroe Hall
Middlebury, VT 05753
United States
802 443-5591 (Phone)
802 443-2084 (Fax)

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