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QRE, NSNX and the Paradox of Voting

Howard Margolis

No 717, Working Papers from Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago

Abstract: Levine & Palfrey's (2007) QRE account of turnout in large elections raises the broader question of how much of a departure from standard rational choice theory is justified by the considerable repertoire of rational choice anomalies that has accumulated since Downs and Olson half a century ago. An alternative but more controversial unconventional view turns on what I call NSNX motivation to account for how agents seek a balance between self-interest and social motivation. NSNX agents have irreducibly dual utility functions. QRE agents have a standard utility function but they do not maximize it. I review the situation showing why in situations where NSNX effects could be expected, QRE might mirror those effects. I show how by varying parameters of an experiment we can cleanly distinguish between actual QRE effects which should bring predictions closer to the data than Nash and NSNX effects which should do the same.

Keywords: rational choice; NSNX (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2007-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-dcm and nep-exp
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