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The same goes for voting, but I don't think the reason for participating in one are the same as the other. :)

Dave Tufte

Agreed, but I think there's people who'd seriously make an expected value argument that buying lottery tickets is worth it. This cuts that idea down to size.

P.S. And there are faculty here in Utah who are going to vote for Romney because the marginal value of their vote is enough to outweigh the risk of dying on the way.


I bet you're right on the lottery. This is a topic of interest to me. I think the social psychology behind voting is the driver, not prudent utility maximization. I'm working on some experiments to look at this. A really interesting book on expressive choice in general is Schuessler's The logic of Expressive Choice.

Dave Tufte

Hmmm. Well this is your area, so I'll defer.

Are you saying that somehow a vote is a decision that people find more than worthwhile to express?


Yes, for some at least. Voting isn't about a calculation of one's impact on the outcome. Voting isn't doing; it's being.

Like the people in southern California campaigning for Romney on street corners where the electoral college system means their efforts are not instrumentally effective. Or the fan in the stands who dons body paint and screams for his team.


I would love to re post this entry on my own website will that be okay

Dave Tufte

Sure. No problem.


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