Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gordon Tullock Uber Alles

Gelman, Silver and Edlin pay homage to the man:

"One of the motivations for voting is that one vote can make a difference. In a presidential election, the probability that your vote is decisive is equal to the probability that your state is necessary for an electoral college win, times the probability the vote in your state is tied in that event. We computed these probabilities a week before the 2008 presidential election, using state-by-state election forecasts based on the latest polls. The states where a single vote was most likely to matter are New Mexico, Virginia, New Hampshire, and Colorado, where your vote had an approximate 1 in 10 million chance of determining the national election outcome. On average, a voter in America had a 1 in 60 million chance of being decisive in the presidential election. "

Gee, I hope there are some other motivations for y'all.


Anonymous said...

certainly not to trying to dissuade anyone against the rational voter's hypothesis here, but in contrasting the costs and benefits associated with voting this analysis may be taking a myopic approach. It would be interesting to analyze the probability of impacting any election the voter took place in, and not just a presidential election. Presumably, the probability of impacting the final result is much higher in local elections, and it seems that a case can be made that local elections (and referendums) produce more observable direct impact on the voters.

Anonymous said...

Of course there are other motivations. In my neighborhood, all the cool kids are Dems, the precinct captain knows everybody. You go and stand in the line at the church, you hear who's had a baby, people say hi. Likelihood of providing the magic marginal vote? Who cares?!

Tom said...

News reports of higher numbers for Libertarians "can" be a tipping point to get some person interested enough to inquire further. It's low cost advertising.