Democracy and Decision: The Pure Theory of Electoral Preference

Do voters in large scale democracies reliably vote for the electoral outcomes most in their interest? Much of the literature on voting predicts that they do, but this book argues that fully rational voters will not, in fact, consistently vote for the political outcomes they prefer. The authors offer a theory of voting which they term an ‘expressive’ theory of electoral politics. This theory is shown to be more coherent and more consistent with actual observed voting behaviour. This important book offers a compelling challenge to the central premises of the prevailing theories of voting behaviour.

• A controversial view of the theory of electoral preference • Draws on a wide range of election data • Authors well known in this field of study


1. Ethics, politics and public choice; 2. The logic of electoral choice; 3. The nature of expressive returns; 4. The analytics of decisiveness; 5. The theory of electoral outcome: implications for public choice theory; 6. From anecdote to analysis; 7. Interpreting the numbers; 8. Consensus, efficiency and contractarian justification; 9. Paternalism, self-paternalism and the state; 10. Towards a democratic morality; 11. Constitutional implications; Bibliography.