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Expressive behavior in economics and politics

Arye Hillman ()

European Journal of Political Economy, 2010, vol. 26, issue 4, 403-418

Abstract: Expressive behavior is the self-interested quest for utility through acts and declarations that confirm a person's identity. Expressive voting is an example of expressive behavior. I introduce expressive behavior in the forms of expressive rhetoric and expressive generosity. The questions for society and for public policy are whether expressive behavior affects others, and if so whether beneficially or disadvantageously. In experiments, expressive behavior often benefits others. There are adverse social consequences when, in real-life decisions, expressive behavior results in unwanted public policies of expressive-policy traps. I consider the prospects for avoiding or exiting expressive-policy traps.

Keywords: Identity; Voting; Rhetoric; Generosity; Policy; trap (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2010
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European Journal of Political Economy is currently edited by J. De Haan, A. L. Hillman and H. W. Ursprung

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