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Altruistic punishment in elections

Jason A. Aimone, Luigi Butera and Thomas Stratmann ()

European Journal of Political Economy, 2018, vol. 53, issue C, 149-160

Abstract: Altruistic punishment is a fundamental driver for cooperation in human interactions. In this paper, we expand our understanding of this form of pro-social behavior to help explain a puzzle of voting: why do individuals who are indifferent between two potential policy outcomes of an election participate when voting is costly? Using a simple voting experiment, we provide robust evidence that many voters are willing to engage in voting as a form of punishment, even when voting is costly and the voter has no monetary stake in the election outcome. In our sample, and in a robustness check through Monte Carlo simulation, we show that at least fourteen percent of individuals are willing to incur a cost to vote against candidates who broke their electoral promises, even when they have no pecuniary interest in the election outcome.

Keywords: Voting; Altruistic punishment; Laboratory experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Working Paper: Altruistic Punishment in Elections (2014) Downloads
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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:53:y:2018:i:c:p:149-160