Public Choice

, Volume 173, Issue 3–4, pp 307–323 | Cite as

An expressive voting model of anger, hatred, harm and shame

  • Dwight R. LeeEmail author
  • Ryan H. Murphy


To consider some political implications of angry voters, we alter the standard expressive model in a fundamental way. One result is that an angry voter with a strong sense of shame at the thought of voting to harm others, may still do so, even when the harm is brutal. Indeed, his willingness to vote for harming others may increase if the proposed harm becomes more severe, even though the angry voter is more “decent” (less willing to harm others) than most of us sometimes are. Several examples are given that are consistent with the most troubling implications of the model. An empirical appendix follows the concluding section which tests the implications of the model indirectly.


Expressive voting Anger Hatred Shame Harm Voting cascades Trump Duterte Criminal sentences Slavery Hitler Constitutions 

JEL Classification




We would like to thank the Center for Study of Economic Liberty at Arizona State University, where Lee is a Liberty Fellow, for providing financial support for work on this paper.


  1. Brennan, G. (2008). Psychological dimensions in voter choice. Public Choice, 137(3/4), 475–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brennan, G., & Buchanan, J. M. (2000). The power to tax: Analytical foundations of a fiscal constitution. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund.Google Scholar
  3. Brennan, G., & Lomasky, L. (1993). Democracy and decision: The pure theory of electoral preference. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown, S., & Taylor, K. (2014). Household finances and the ‘big five’ personality traits. Journal of Economic Psychology, 45(December), 197–212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Caplan, B. (2007). The myth of the rational voter: Why democracies choose bad policies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Carney, D. R., Jost, J. T., Gosling, S. D., & Potter, J. (2008). The secret lives of liberals and conservatives: Personality profiles, interaction styles, and the things they leave behind. Political Psychology, 29(6), 807–840.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Christakis, N. A., & Fowler, J. H. (2011). Connected: How your friends’, friends’ affect everything you feel, think, and do. New York: Little, Brown and Company.Google Scholar
  8. Eichler, A. (2012). State of the Union Address 2012: Obama calls income inequality “the defining issue of our time.” The Huffington Post, January 24.Google Scholar
  9. Eysenck, H. (1977). Crime and personality. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Fletcher, J. M. (2013). The effects of personality traits on adult labor market outcomes: evidence from siblings. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 89, 122–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gerber, A. S., Huber, G. A., Doherty, D., Dowling, C. M., & Ha, S. E. (2010). Personality and political attitudes: Relationships across issue domains and political contexts. American Political Science Review, 104(1), 111–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ginges, J., Atron, S., Medin, D., & Shikaki, K. (2007). Sacred bounds on rational resolution of violent conflicts. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 104(18), 7357–7360.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Gladwell, M. (2013). David and Goliath: Underdogs, misfits, and the art of battling giants. New York: Little, Brown and Company.Google Scholar
  14. Glaeser, E. L. (2005). The political economy of hatred. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120(1), 45–86.Google Scholar
  15. Glazer, A. (2008). Voting to anger and to please others. Public Choice, 134(3/4), 247–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Goldhagen, D. J. (1996). Hitler’s willing executioners: Ordinary Germans and the holocaust. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  17. Grynaviski, J. D., & Munger, M. (2017). Reconstructing racism: Transforming racial hierarchy from necessary evil into positive good. Social Philosophy and Policy, 34(1), 144–163.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Haidt, J., & Iyer, R. (2016). A truce for our tribal politics. Wall Street Journal, November 5–6, p. C1–2.Google Scholar
  19. Hayek, F. A. (1960). The constitution of liberty. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  20. Higgs, R. (1987). Crisis and leviathan: Critical episodes in the growth of American government. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Holmes, O. (2016). Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte says he personally killed criminals. The Guardian, December 14.Google Scholar
  22. Iyengar, R. (2016). The death toll from Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs has exceeded 2,400. Time, September 4.Google Scholar
  23. Kajonius, P. J., & Carlander, A. (2017). Who gets ahead in life? Personality traits and childhood background in economic success. Journal of Economic Psychology, 59(April), 164–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lee, D. R. (2015). The beast is not easily starved. Public Choice, 164(3), 275–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lee, D. R., & Clark, J. R. (2014). Buchanan and Tullock ignore their own contributions to expressive voting. Public Choice, 161(1), 113–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Manning, J., Hedden, T., Wickens, N., Whitfield-Gabrieli, S., Prelec, D., & Gabrieli, J. D. E. (2014). Personality influences temporal discounting preferences: Behavioral and brain evidence. Neuroimage, 98(September), 42–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. McGill, A. (2016). Embarrassed to support Trump: A new report says shame might be the reason why the Republican frontrunner has consistently fared worse in live-interview polls. The Atlantic, December 21.Google Scholar
  28. Mendez, C. (2017). Join fight vs. drugs, corruption—Duterte. The Philippine Star, January 1.Google Scholar
  29. Murray, C. (2012). Coming apart: The state of white America, 1960–2010. New York: Crown.Google Scholar
  30. Pinker, S. (2011). The better angels of out nature: Why violence has declined. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
  31. Ray, A. (2016). Philippines justice department files criminal case against Duterte critic Senator Leila de Lima. International Business Times, December 21.Google Scholar
  32. Rentfrow, P. J., Gosling, S. D., Jokela, M., Stillwell, D. J., Kosinski, M., & Potter, J. (2013). Divided we stand: Three psychological regions of the United States and their political, economic, social, and health correlates. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105(6), 996–1012.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Roback, J. (1986). The political economy of segregation: The case of segregated street cars. The Journal of Economic History, 46(4), 893–917.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Simons, H. C. (1951). Economic policy for a free society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  35. Tullock, G. (1971). The charity of the uncharitable. Western Economic Journal, 9(4), 379–392.Google Scholar
  36. Widgier, T. A. (2017). The Oxford handbook of the five factor model. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.William J. O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom, Cox School of BusinessSouthern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA

Personalised recommendations