Philosophy and Public Affairs 48 (4):422-446 (2020)

Authors
Zach Barnett
National University of Singapore
Abstract
Prevailing opinion—defended by Jason Brennan and others—is that voting to change the outcome is irrational, since although the payoffs of tipping an election can be quite large, the probability of doing so is extraordinarily small. This paper argues that prevailing opinion is incorrect. Voting is shown to be rational so long as two conditions are satisfied: First, the average social benefit of electing the better candidate must be at least twice as great as the individual cost of voting, and second, the chance of casting the decisive vote must be at least 1/N, where N stands for the number of citizens. It is argued that both of these conditions are often true in the real world.
Keywords voting  rationality  probability of decisive vote
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DOI 10.1111/papa.12177
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References found in this work BETA

The Ethics of Voting.Jason Brennan - 2011 - Princeton Univ Pr.
Pascal's Mugging.Nick Bostrom - 2009 - Analysis 69 (3):443-445.
Debate: Why Does the Excellent Citizen Vote?Luke Maring - 2016 - Journal of Political Philosophy 24 (2):245-257.

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Citations of this work BETA

General Solution to All Philosophical Problems With Some Exceptions.Wayde Beasley - forthcoming - north of parallel 40: Numerous uncommitted.
Philosophy’s Other Climate Problem.Michael Brownstein & Neil Levy - forthcoming - Journal of Social Philosophy.
Voting for Less Than the Best.Michael Ridge - 2021 - Journal of Political Philosophy 29 (3):404-426.

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