Why people vote: Ethical motives and social incentives

Nageeb N. Ali, Charles Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Some individuals vote because they are motivated by a civic duty to do so, whereas others may vote because they wish to appear prosocial to others. This paper proposes a simple framework that captures these motivations, and provides results consistent with findings on turnout, e.g., that turnout is responsive to the expected closeness and importance of an election, to the observability of one's choice to vote, and to social rewards and punishments associated with voting. We study various extensions of this framework in which community monitoring plays a role, and explore the implications that voter mobilization has for electoral competition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-98
Number of pages26
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Microeconomics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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