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What motivates bandwagon voting behavior: Altruism or a desire to win?

Rebecca Morton () and Kai Ou

European Journal of Political Economy, 2015, vol. 40, issue PB, 224-241

Abstract: This paper surveys the literature on psychological and strategic mental processes of bandwagon behavior, discusses the literature of bandwagon behavior in the context of the two different types, bandwagon vote choices and bandwagon abstention effects, and examines the rationality of other-regarding bandwagon vote choices. Key experimental results are reported to investigate the extent that bandwagon behavior can be explained by other-regarding preferences in contrast to a psychological desire to simply support a winner. We find support for purely psychological non-other-regarding bandwagon behavior but primarily when subjects have information about the distribution of voter choices in previous elections but individual choices are private. Interestingly, when voting is public this type of bandwagon behavior disappears and bandwagon behavior that could be other-regrading is much higher. Given that observability increases other-regarding behavior in other contexts, our results suggest that some of the observed bandwagon behavior may be explained by other-regarding preferences as well.

Keywords: Bandwagon behavior; Majority voting; Other-regarding voting; Secret ballots (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A13 C90 D72 D83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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