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A Further Experimental Study of Expressive Voting

A. J. Fischer
Public Choice
Vol. 88, No. 1/2 (Jul., 1996), pp. 171-184
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30027260
Page Count: 14
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A Further Experimental Study of Expressive Voting
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Abstract

Abstract. Do people vote in elections for reasons that have nothing to do with the possibility that their own vote may decide the result of the election? That is, do they vote for "expressive" reasons? There is no hard evidence in the real world which bears on this question. The nearest one can come to an answer is to ask people about why they have voted, but what people say they do is not necessarily the same as their behavior, which cannot be observed on this issue in real voting situations. The existence, or otherwise, of expressive voting is an important question, because the answer provides insights into explaining voter turnout (i.e. to help explain why people vote), as well as whether their vote ever changes as a result of a change in the probability that their vote will decide the election (i.e. to help explain what people vote). By conducting an appropriate experiment, however, direct evidence of whether some people vote expressively may be obtained. This paper describes such an experiment, and gives clear evidence for the existence of expressive voting.

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