The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Exit and Voice

  • Albert O. Hirschman
Reference work entry


Exit and voice are alternative responses to an unsatisfactory relationship: exit is the withdrawal from it, voice is the attempt to improve it through communication. They are not mutually exclusive responses: thus, the market is the archetypal exit mechanism, yet it usually involves voice. When available jointly, exit and voice may reinforce or undercut each other: the exit option enhances the influence of customers’ voice on an unsatisfactory supplier but also reduces its volume. Exit–voice analysis has been applied to trade unions, hierarchies, public services, migration and political action, political party systems, marriage and divorce, and adolescent development.


Adolescent development Asymmetric information City–suburb migration Collective voice Democratization Education finance Exit and voice Free rider problem Health finance Hierarchy Hirschman, A. O. Horizontal vs vertical voice Identity Incomplete information International capital flows International migration Loyalty Marriage and divorce Montesquieu, C. de Multiparty systems Political parties Public services Rural–urban migration Smith, A. Smith, A. Trade unions Two-party systems Vouchers Welfare state 

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Albert O. Hirschman
    • 1
  1. 1.