Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 159–170 | Cite as

Strategic and expressive voting

  • Brad R. Taylor
Original Paper


Critics of the expressive account of voting have argued that it is inconsistent with strategic voting. Since there is strong evidence that people vote strategically, this has been taken to show that many voters are at least partially instrumentally motivated. This paper argues that strategic voting in the relevant sense is consistent with entirely expressive political motivation. Building on an earlier suggestion by Geoffrey Brennan, I model voters as expressively valuing ideological position as well as the strategic pursuit of expressively-defined preferences. This model predicts strategic voting without instrumental preferences entering the voter’s calculus at all. I also suggest that expressive preferences for strategic behaviour can be usefully analysed in terms of dispositional choice.


Expressive voting Strategic voting Political dispositions Revisionist public choice theory 

JEL Classification

B59 D70 H10 



I thank Geoff Brennan, Keith Dowding, the editors, and two anonymous referees.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Politics and International RelationsThe Australian National UniversityActonAustralia

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