Democracy and Decision: The Pure Theory of Electoral Preference

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Cambridge University Press, Mar 13, 1997 - Business & Economics - 237 pages
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Do voters in large scale democracies reliably vote for the electoral outcomes most in their own interest? Much of the literature on voting predicts that they do, but this book argues that fully rational voters will not, in fact, consistently vote for the political outcomes they prefer. The authors critique the dominant interest-based theory of voting and offer a competing theory, which they term an "expressive" theory of electoral politics. This theory is shown to be more coherent and more consistent with actually observed voting behavior. In particular, the theory does a better job of explaining the propensity of democratic regimes to make war, the predominance of moral questions on democratic regimes to make war, the predominance of moral questions on democratic political agendas, and the distribution of government resources in democratic systems. This important book offers a compelling challenge to the central premises of the prevailing theories of voting behavior and should serve as the basis for fundamental reevaluation in the field.
 

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Contents

Ethics politics and public choice
1
The logic of electoral choice
19
The nature of expressive returns
32
The analytics of decisiveness
54
The theory of electoral outcomes implications for public choice theory
74
From anecdote to analysis
90
Interpreting the numbers
108
Consensus efficiency and contractarian justification
124
Paternalism selfpaternalism and the state
143
Toward a democratic morality
167
Constitutional implications
199
Bibliography
226
Index
233
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