Non-consequentialist voting

Moses Shayo*, Alon Harel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Standard theory assumes that voters' preferences over actions (voting) are induced by their preferences over electoral outcomes (policies, candidates). But voters may also have non-consequentialist (NC) motivations: they may care about how they vote even if it does not affect the outcome. When the likelihood of being pivotal is small, NC motivations can dominate voting behavior. To examine the prevalence of NC motivations, we design an experiment that exogenously varies the probability of being pivotal yet holds constant other features of the decision environment. We find a significant effect, consistent with at least 12.5 percent of subjects being motivated by NC concerns.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)299-313
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • Democracy
  • Elections
  • Expressive voting
  • Extended preferences
  • Social preferences


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