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Expressive Voting and Government Redistribution: Testing Tullock's `Charity of the Uncharitable'

  • Political Science


Models of expressive voting postulate that voters will `consume' ideological stances on issues by voting for them, even when they are against the voter's own narrow self interest, if the probability of being a decisive voter is low. When a voter is unlikely to sway the outcome, the odds that a voter will incur any real personal cost (a higher tax burden, for example) from her own expressive vote is small. We test and find support for Tullock's straightforward empirical implication of this model, that government welfare (transfer) payments are inversely related to the probability of being the decisive voter.

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