The calculus of ethical voting

Timothy Feddersen*, Alvaro Sandroni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Papers by Feddersen and Sandroni (Am Econ Rev, 2006a; Q J polit Sci, 2006b) and Coate and Colin (Am Econ Rev, 94:1476-1504, 2004) provide an explanation for turnout in large elections. These papers introduce ethical agents who are motivated to participate when they determine that agents of their type are morally obligated to do so. Unlike previous duty-based models of participation, ethical agents' moral obligation to vote is determined endogenously as a function of the behavior of other agents. In order to predict outcomes, a solution concept called consistency links agents' preferences with actual behavior in a manner analogous to Nash equilibrium. In this paper, we address the foundational problems in ethical participation models. We show the restrictions consistency imposes on the central notion of group identity, the incentive constraints on ethical reasoning, and the existence and uniqueness of consistent profiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Game Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty


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