Public Choice

, Volume 159, Issue 1–2, pp 159–176 | Cite as

Voters, dictators, and peons: expressive voting and pivotality



Why do the poor vote against redistribution? We examine one explanation experimentally, namely that individuals gain direct expressive utility from voting in accordance with their ideology and understand that they are unlikely to be pivotal; hence, their expressive utility, even if arbitrarily small, determines their voting behavior. In contrast with a basic prediction of this model, we find that the probability of being pivotal does not affect the impact of monetary interest on whether a subject votes for redistribution.


Redistribution Ideology Expressive voting 



We would like to thanks Peter Leeson, Lise Vesterlund, and seminar participants at UCSD, Cornell, University of Chicago, and University of Pittsburgh for helpful comments. This research was supported by the Initiative for Global Markets at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Booth School of BusinessUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Kellogg School of ManagementNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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