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date: 19 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Standard economic reasoning assumes that people vote instrumentally—i.e., that the sole motivation to vote is to influence the outcome of an election. In contrast, voting is expressive if voters derive utility from the very act of expressing support for one of the options by voting for it, and this utility is independent of whether the vote affects the outcome. This chapter surveys experimental tests of expressive voting with a particular focus on the low-cost theory of expressive voting. The evidence for the low-cost theory of expressive voting is mixed.

Keywords: expressive voting, non-instrumental voting, instrumental choice, low-cost theory, laboratory experiment

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