Expressive vs. strategic voters: An empirical assessment

Jörg L. Spenkuch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Leading theories of how voters choose between candidates are rooted in two very different paradigms, with starkly different behavioral implications. Exploiting the incentive structure of Germany's electoral system, I develop a novel set of empirical tests that pit the canonical pivotal voter model against alternative accounts according to which individuals derive expressive utility from supporting their most preferred candidate. The results show that neither paradigm can explain the most-salient features of the data. In addition, the evidence suggests that voters cannot be neatly categorized into sincere and strategic “types”.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Public Economics
StatePublished - Sep 2018


  • Expressive voting
  • Strategic voting
  • Voter behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Expressive vs. strategic voters: An empirical assessment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this