CaltechAUTHORS
  A Caltech Library Service

The paradox of not voting: A decision theoretic analysis

Ferejohn, John A. and Fiorina, Morris P. (1974) The paradox of not voting: A decision theoretic analysis. American Political Science Review, 68 (2). pp. 525-536. ISSN 0003-0554. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20171207-140912229

Full text is not posted in this repository. Consult Related URLs below.

Use this Persistent URL to link to this item: http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20171207-140912229

Abstract

Various analysts have noted that the decision to vote in mass elections is difficult to justify from the standpoint of an expected utility maximization model. Put simply, the probability that a citizen's vote will affect the outcome is so small that the expected gains from voting are outweighed by the costs in time and effort. Such analyses treat rational behavior as synonymous with expected utility maximization. In this paper we show that an alternative criterion for decision making under uncertainty, minimax regret, specifies voting under quite general conditions. Both two and three candidate plurality elections are considered. Interestingly, a minimax regret decision maker never votes for his second choice in a three candidate election, whereas expected utility maximizers clearly may. Thus, the model proposed has implications for candidate choice as well as turnout.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055400117368DOIArticle
https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/american-political-science-review/article/the-paradox-of-not-voting-a-decision-theoretic-analysis/0F89DD7019DEC0A1D8B0F4F33CB69CBEPublisherArticle
http://www.jstor.org/stable/1959502JSTORArticle
Additional Information:© American Political Science Association 1974. We should like to acknowledge the encouragement of Charles Plott, the critical acumen of John Benton, James Quirk, Kenneth Shepsle, Peter Aranson, Peter Ordeshook, and Duff Spafford, and, finally, the prescience of David Seidman. Originally issued as Social Science Working Paper 19.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:Voting, Regret, Political candidates, Minimax, Expected utility, Rational choice theory, Utilities costs, Citizenship, Voting behavior
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Social Science Working Paper19
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171207-140912229
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20171207-140912229
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:83735
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:22 Dec 2017 00:12
Last Modified:22 Mar 2018 20:51

Repository Staff Only: item control page