Economics and Philosophy 3 (1):131 (1987)
How may we best understand the motivational structure that stands behind individuals' acts of voting? In “The Impartial Spectator Goes to Washington” we suggested that expressive concerns swamp narrowly consequential motivations, in contradistinction to normal market transactions in which the priority is reversed. A striking consequence of this fact is that individuals will be led to vote for outcomes that they would reject were they in a position to act decisively. In this regard we found the moral psychology Adam Smith develops in The Theory of Moral Sentiments remarkably fecund in suggesting alternatives to what we call the standard theory of electoral behavior
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