Experimental Evidence on Expressive Voting

Jean-Robert Tyran, Alexander K. Wagner

Publications: Working paper


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 paper 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.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 502024 Public economy
  • 502045 Behavioural economics

Cite this