Public Choice

, Volume 132, Issue 1–2, pp 179–189 | Cite as

Who are the expressive voters?

Original Article


Brennan and Hamlin (1998) predict that moderates are more likely to be expressive rather than instrumental voters, but do not test this hypothesis. Greene and Nelson (2002) claim to reject this, by finding that extremists are as likely to vote as moderates. We argue that Greene and Nelson's study was not a complete test of Brennan and Hamlin's hypothesis and we extend their analysis to provide a more thorough test. Our results imply that there is some evidence to suggest that extremist non-voters are less likely to be instrumentally motivated, providing some support for the predictions of Brennan and Hamlin.


Voting Expressiveness Extremists 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aldrich, J.H. (1993). Rational choice and turnout. American Journal of Political Science, 37, 246–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aldrich, J.H. (1997). When is it rational to vote? In D. C. Mueller (Ed.), Perspectives on public choice (pp. 373–390). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Brennan, G. (2001). Five rational actor accounts of the welfare state. Kyklos, 54, 213–233.Google Scholar
  4. Brennan, G., & Hamlin, A. (1998). Expressive voting and electoral equilibrium. Public Choice, 95, 149–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Brennan, G., & Hamlin, A. (1999). On political representation. British Journal of Political Science, 29, 109–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Copeland, C., & Laband, D. (2002). Expressiveness and voting. Public Choice, 110, 351–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dhillon, A., & Peralta, S. (2002). Economic theories of turnout. The Economic Journal, 112, F332–F352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Downs, A. (1957). An economic theory of democracy. New York: Harper Row.Google Scholar
  9. Evans, G. Heath, A., & Lalljee, M. (1996). Measuring left-right and libertarian-authoritarian values in the British electorate. British Journal of Sociology, 47, 93–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Exley, S. et al. (2002). British Social Attitudes 2000, Technical Report. London: National Centre for Social Research.Google Scholar
  11. Ferejohn, J., & Fiorina, M.P. (1974). The paradox of not voting: A decision theoretic analysis. American Political Science Review, 68, 525–536.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ferejohn, J., & Fiorina, M.P. (1975). Closeness counts only in horseshoes and dancing. American Political Science Review, 69, 920–925.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fischer, A. (1996). A further experimental study of expressive voting. Public Choice, 88, 171–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Goodin, R.E., & Roberts, K.W.S. (1975). The ethical voter. American Political Science Review, 69, 926–928.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Green, D.P., & Shapiro, I. (1994). Pathologies of rational choice theory: A critique of applications in political science. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Greene, K.V., & Nelson, P.J. (2002). If extremists vote how do they express themselves? An empirical test of an expressive theory of voting. Public Choice, 113, 425–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Greene, K.V., & Nikolaev, O. (1999). Voter participation and the redistributive state. Public Choice, 98, 213–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Heath, A., Evans, G., & Martin, J. (1994). The measurement of core beliefs and values: The development of balanced socialist/laissez faire and libertarian/authoritarian scales. British Journal of Political Science, 24, 115–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hochman, H.M., & Rogers, J.D. (1969). Pareto optimal redistribution. American Economic Review, 59, 542–547.Google Scholar
  20. Jones, P., & Hudson, J. (2000). Civic duty and expressive voting: Is virtue its own reward? Kyklos, 53, 3–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1972). Subjective probability: A judgement of representativeness. Cognitive Psychology, 3, 430–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kan, K., & Yang, C. C. (2001). On expressive voting: Evidence from the 1988 U.S. presidential election. Public Choice, 108, 295–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ledyard, J. (1984). The pure theory of large two-candidate elections. Public Choice, 44, 7–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mueller, D.C. (2003). Public Choice III. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Nelson, P. (1994). Voting and imitative behaviour. Economic Inquiry, 82, 92–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Schuessler, A. (2001). A logic of expressive choice. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Tyran, J. (2004). Voting when money and morals conflict; an experimental test of expressive voting. Journal of Public Economics, 88, 1645–1664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK
  2. 2.The Queens CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations