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Alexander T. Clark and Nicholas Tenev

International Economic Review, 2019, vol. 60, issue 4, 1705-1735

Abstract: We develop a model in which costly voting in a large, two‐party election is a sequentially rational choice of strategic, self‐interested players who can reward fellow voters by forming stronger ties in a network formation coordination game. The predictions match a variety of stylized facts, including explaining why an individual's voting behavior may depend on what she knows about her friends' actions. Players have imperfect information about others' voting behavior, and we find that some degree of privacy may be necessary for voting in equilibrium, enabling hypocritical but useful social pressure. Our framework applies to any costly prosocial behavior.

Date: 2019
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