Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/73088
Authors: 
Bischoff, Ivo
Neuhaus, Carolin
Trautner, Peter
Weber, Bernd
Year of Publication: 
2012
Series/Report no.: 
Joint Discussion Paper Series in Economics 34-2012
Abstract: 
Which motives drive the decision of a voter to approve or reject a policy proposal? The Public Choice literature distinguishes between instrumental and expressive voting motives. We investigate the importance of these motives by analysing the patterns of neural activity in different voting situations. We conduct an fMRI-experiment which investigates neural activation at the moment of voting and use the altruism scale proposed by Tankersley et al. (2007) to differentiate between altruists and non-altruists. Non-altruists show neural activation patterns that are consistent with expressive voting motives. Among non-altruists, we also find activation patterns that point at egoistic instrumental motives. Both results are in line with the corresponding Public Choice literature. On the other hand, we find no evidence for expressive voting motives among altruists. Their neural activation pattern is generally much less conclusive with respect to the underlying motives.
Subjects: 
Voting behavior
expressive voting
instrumental voting
political decision making
charitable donation
neuroscience
neuroeconomics
neuropolitical
fMRI
JEL: 
D72
D87
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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