The Elgar Companion to Public Choice, Second Edition
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The Elgar Companion to Public Choice, Second Edition

Edited by William F. Shughart II, Laura Razzolini and Michael Reksulak

The Companion lays out a comprehensive history of the field and, in five additional parts, it explores public choice contributions to the study of the origins of the state, the organization of political activity, the analysis of decision-making in non-market institutions, the examination of tribal governance and to modeling and predicting the behavior of international organizations and transnational terrorism.
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Chapter 7: Expressive voting

Geoffrey Brennan and Michael Brooks


There is now a considerable literature operating (one way or another) under the rubrics of ‘expressive voting’ and expressive political activity more generally. Some of the relevant ideas are to be found in early contributions by mainstream public choice scholars – such as Buchanan (1954b), Downs (1957) and Tullock (1971a) – but the contributions that make the expressive idea a centerpiece of the ‘rational actor’ approach to political behavior are of more recent origin. Notable examples include Goodin and Roberts (1975), Brennan and Buchanan (1984), Kliemt (1986), Brennan and Lomasky (1993), Schuessler (2000a, 2000b) and Brennan and Hamlin (1998); for more recent attempts, see Brennan (2008b), Hamlin and Jennings (2009) and Hillman (2010). Hamlin and Jennings (2009, henceforth H & J) provide a general survey of this strand of work and seek to develop appropriate conceptual foundations for the category of ‘expressive conduct’. We are in broad agreement with their approach and many of their conclusions.

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