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American Economic Journal: Microeconomics: Vol. 5 No. 2 (May 2013)

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Why People Vote: Ethical Motives and Social Incentives

Article Citation

Ali, S. Nageeb, and Charles Lin. 2013. "Why People Vote: Ethical Motives and Social Incentives." American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, 5(2): 73-98.

DOI: 10.1257/mic.5.2.73

Abstract

Some individuals vote because they are motivated by a civic duty to do so, whereas others may vote because they wish to appear prosocial to others. This paper proposes a simple framework that captures these motivations, and provides results consistent with findings on turnout, e.g., that turnout is responsive to the expected closeness and importance of an election, to the observability of one's choice to vote, and to social rewards and punishments associated with voting. We study various extensions of this framework in which community monitoring plays a role, and explore the implications that voter mobilization has for electoral competition. (JEL D03, D72)

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Authors

Ali, S. Nageeb (U CA, San Diego)
Lin, Charles (U CA, San Diego)

JEL Classifications

D03: Behavioral Economics: Underlying Principles
D72: Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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