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Pocketbook voting, social preferences, and expressive motives in referenda

Johannes Meya, Panu Poutvaara () and Robert Schwager

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2020, vol. 175, issue C, 185-205

Abstract: We develop and test a theory of voting and turnout decisions that integrates self-interest, social preferences, and expressive motives. Our empirical analysis studies referenda among university students about whether to collectively purchase deeply discounted flat rate tickets for public transportation and cultural amenities. Individual usage data allow quantifying the monetary benefits associated with each ticket. We find that monetary benefits strongly influence participation and voting. However, social or expressive motives such as stated altruism are decisive for a significant minority. Based on our theory, empirical results rule out purely expressive voting.

Keywords: Pocketbook voting; Altruism; Expressive voting; Instrumental voting; Referendum (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 H41 D64 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Related works:
Working Paper: Pocketbook Voting, Social Preferences, and Expressive Motives in Referenda (2017) Downloads
Working Paper: Pocketbook voting, social preferences, and expressive motives in referenda (2017) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:175:y:2020:i:c:p:185-205

DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2020.04.006

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