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To Vote or Not to Vote?: The Merits and Limits of Rational Choice Theory (Political Science) download epub

by Andre Blais


Epub Book: 1178 kb. | Fb2 Book: 1290 kb.

This is a great introduction to rational choice theory as it pertains to voting in elections. Like the subtitle says, he finds both merits and limits to the theory

This is a great introduction to rational choice theory as it pertains to voting in elections. Since I have started reading books about elections I have been asking people why they vote. Many of my friends do not vote at all (I am in my early twenties, so this fact should not be a surprise). Like the subtitle says, he finds both merits and limits to the theory.

Subjects: Political Science . The rational citizen decides to vote or not to vote on the basis of whether, in her estimation, the expected benefit outweighs the expected cost.

Whether one supports rational choice theory or opposes it, Blais’s evenhanded and timely analysis will certainly be of interest .

Whether one supports rational choice theory or opposes it, Blais’s evenhanded and timely analysis will certainly be of interest, and is well-suited for advanced undergraduate and graduate-level classes. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia.

In doing so, Blais assesses the merits and limitations of the rational choice model in explaining voter behaviour.

To Vote or Not to Vote: The Merits and Limits of Rational Choice Theory. oceedings{Blais2000ToVO, title {To Vote or Not to Vote: The Merits and Limits of Rational Choice Theory}, author {Andr{'e} Blais}, year {2000} }. André Blais. In doing so, Blais assesses the merits and limitations of the rational choice model in explaining voter behaviour. View PDF. Save to Library.

Recommend this journal.

Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press. Whether you've loved the book or not, if you give your honest and detailed thoughts then people will find new books that are right for them. 1. Breaking and Riding. Pages: 200. ISBN 10: 0822957345. ISBN 13: 9780822957348. James Fillis, M. Horace Hayes, E. Schmit-Jensen.

KEYWORDS: Elections; Turnout; Europe; Political Participation; Compulsory Voting. Rational Choice Theory: Toward a Psychological, Social, and Material Contextualization of Human Choice Behavior. JOURNAL NAME: Open Journal of Political Science, Vo. N., January 29, 2013. ABSTRACT: Over the past twenty years, the scientific community and politicians in consolidated democracies have been regularly alarmed by political and electoral participation, portrayed as undergoing a brutal and linear decline. Tom Burns, Ewa Roszkowska. 62022 4 090 Downloads 5 864 Views Citations.

The Merits and Limits of Rational Choice Theory

To Vote or Not to Vote : The Merits and Limits of Rational Choice Theory. In doing so, Blais assesses the merits and limitations of the rational choice model in explaining voter behavior.

Is it Rational to Vote? (Excerpts from Blais, Andre. To Vote or Not to Vote: The Merits and Limits of Rational Choice Theory). o Chapter 1. When and Where Are People More Likely to Vote?

Is it Rational to Vote? (Excerpts from Blais, Andre. When and Where Are People More Likely to Vote? (Excerpts from Blais, Andre. Week 12. Executives and Bureaucracies.

What makes people decide to vote? In addressing this simple question, Andr Blais examines the factors that increase or decrease turne or decrease turnout at the aggregate, cross-national level and considers what affects peoples decision to vote or to abstain. In doing so, Blais assesses the merits and limitations of the rational choice model in explaining voter behavior. The past few decades have witnessed a rise in the popularity of the rational choice model in accounting for voter turnout, and more recently a groundswell of outspoken opposition to rational choice theory.

Blais tackles this controversial topic in an engaging and personal way, bringintical science and fellow with the Centre de recherche et dveloppement en conomique at the Universit de Montral. He has published twelve books and more than one hundred articles in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, and Public Choice. He was a member of the editorial board of the International Encyclopedia of Elections, and he is the principal co-investigator of the Canadian Election Study.


Comments: (2)

Brick my own
Do not buy this book if, like me, you are trying to increase voter turnout.

I have mixed feelings about this book. It evaluates a theory of why people do or do not vote. The theory, Rational Choice Theory, is one only an economist could write, an economist who never talked to any actual voter. The theory is that people decide whether to vote based on benefit times probability that the voter would be the one who decides the election divided by cost to vote.

Benefit (mainly the difference between two parties or candidates and whether one will benefit the voter) is not problematic. The cost of voting is usually quite low and only determines whether a person votes in cases where he or she would have to wait hours. The problem is with the probability factor. The theory says people will not vote if they think their vote will not be the vote which determines the election. The more potential voters the less people should vote according to the theory. No one believes this happens. People vote more in national elections than in state or local elections.

I have been heavily involved in politics for over a decade. I have never talked to anyone who even thought about whether the election would be tied if he or she did not vote. The author of the book looks at alternatives to all the factors.

As a person with education in social science and research methods I find the author's very deep evaluations of each factor in the theory very interesting. As a person interested in the question why people do or do not vote the book is totally useless.
Whitehammer
This is a great introduction to rational choice theory as it pertains to voting in elections. Since I have started reading books about elections I have been asking people why they vote. Many of my friends do not vote at all (I am in my early twenties, so this fact should not be a surprise). Usually the reason for this is apathy: they don't really think there's a significance between the two candidates (USA) and don't really think their votes will make an impact. On the other hand, the reasons my close family gives for voting, at least this year (2012) is that they don't want to see the Republicans win. When asked if they have given thought to the fact that their votes are negligible in so far as the probability is low that their votes will decide the (statewide) election, I usually hear something along the lines of "but enough people vote such that the aggregate effect does determine the outcome". If you have ever thought about these issues, then Blais's "To Vote or Not to Vote?" is an excellent overview of a famous theory of voting: rational choice theory.

Recall my friends who do not vote: for them, the benefits to voting are small, if any. For my family, the potential benefit of voting is enormous: I will simply say that they do not typically like Republican presidents. Under standard rational choice theory however, those who vote are irrational. This can be shown by the equation, R = PB - C, where R is utility gained through the action of voting, PB is the product of the probability that one's vote will be decisive times the benefit the voter will receive if her preferred candidate wins, and C is the cost of voting. Usually P is microscopic, such that even if C is small, the difference, R, will be negative. Hence the paradox of voting.

Theorists have added many qualifications to the rational choice model in attempts to explain why people vote. A "D" term, for example, has been added by some (Riker and Ordeshook) to account for a voter's notion of duty, while others (Ferejohn and Fiorina) have argued that voters operate under the guise of minimax regret--meaning that if a non-voting citizen's preferred candidate were to lose by one vote, then that non-voting citizen would feel horrible (at a magnitude much greater than if her candidate were to win: hence the citizen votes to ensure that she will not experience that horrible feeling of guilt). One of my favorite explanations for the paradox is that voting at the state or national level is a low-stake decision, so voters can afford to act "irrationally". I also have a pet theory that says that engaged citizens spend time to follow the news and campaigns; this time is an investment that, according to rational choice, will see very little return ( a low or negative R). A citizen will vote in order to tell himself that that time was not wasted. (Yes... very tautologous.) In this book, Blais seeks to investigate if rational choice theory has any semblance of reality, and where it does now, investigate the alternatives.

The book is well worth the read. A few highlights: Blais finds that about half of the electorate (his surveys are taken in Canada) overestimates the probability that their vote will be decisive. However, a significant number of voters have a profound sense of duty. Many say that they would vote even if they knew their vote would not have an impact on the outcome of an election; instead, their vote would be cast as a symbolic action to uphold the principles of democracy. Blais finds that for the rational choice equation, P and B are not multiplicative, but are additive, which helps explain why one would vote even if P were very small. When all is said and done, Blais does not argue that rational choice theory is inappropriate. Like the subtitle says, he finds both merits and limits to the theory.

I end with this quote from Blais, in the hopes that the reader of this review will be moved to vote in the future: "Should not the rational individual reason that whether she votes or not will not salvage or jeopardize democracy in her country? My only response is that, like many of my fellow citizens, I feel that I must act in accordance with the principles I believe in. As I think of myself as a democrat, it would be incongruous not to vote. I vote, then, because I want to be consistent with my principles. Yes, I would feel somewhat guilty not to vote."
To Vote or Not to Vote?: The Merits and Limits of Rational Choice Theory (Political Science) download epub
Politics & Government
Author: Andre Blais
ISBN: 0822941295
Category: Politics & Social Sciences
Subcategory: Politics & Government
Language: English
Publisher: Univ of Pittsburgh Pr (August 1, 2000)
Pages: 200 pages