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In search of the good samaritan: estimating the impact of 'altruism' on voters' preferences

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This paper continues the development of a theoretical foundation for measuring 'altruistic' behaviour with respect to tax versus expenditure preferences in three specific spheres: health, education and welfare payments. Particular emphasis is placed on analysing the choice theoretic calculus that underlies individual preferences. Using this theoretical foundation, econometric techniques allow progress to be made in measuring the characteristics of the underlying utility function. The empirical work relates to the UK and confirms that both self-interest and public interest (with a slight emphasis on the latter) determine overall preferences. The implications of this for the public choice school are then examined.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2002-02-15

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