Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution is in full curmudgeon mode with this bit, but I think he is completely correct. I think economists really underestimate the extent to which "expressive" motives explain behavior.
Why did I vote for the first time since college? A combination of things I think: some peer pressure, a lower cost as noted in an earlier post, and the opportunity to actually vote yes on something I care about - in this case the two initiatives on stem cells and medical marijuana. I did not end up collecting any free stuff for voting though there was plenty on offer in Ann Arbor.
Voting at Angell School in Ann Arbor with all my professor / lawyer / doctor neighbors also has a different feel to it than voting at the local middle school in Renton Washington where my parents lived and being in line with stoner chicks wearing Ozzy Osbourne t-shirts. On the other hand, the miracle that anything works at all is more obvious in Renton.
It's really quite easy.
1 year ago