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Turned on or turned out? Campaign advertising, information and voting

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  • Houser, Daniel
  • Morton, Rebecca
  • Stratmann, Thomas

Abstract

We present results from laboratory experimental elections in which voter information is endogenously provided by candidates and voting is voluntary. We also compare advertisements that are costless to voters with those that reduce voter payoffs. We find that informative advertisements increase voter participation and thus informative campaign advertising turns out voters. However, the effect of information is less than that found in previous experimental studies where information is exogenously provided by the experimenter. Furthermore, we find that when advertising by winning candidates reduces voter payoffs, informed voters are less likely to participate, thus are turned off rather than turned out. Finally, we discover that candidates tend to overadvertise, and contrary to theoretical predictions, advertise significantly more when voting is voluntary than when it is compulsory.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 27 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 708-727

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:27:y:2011:i:4:p:708-727

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505544

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Keywords: Campaign finance; Abstention; Turnout; Elections;

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References

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  1. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. " Explaining Voter Turnout Patterns: An Information Theory," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 84(1-2), pages 91-117, July.
  2. Daniel Houser & Thomas Stratmann, 2006. "Selling Favors in the Lab: Experiments on Campaign Finance Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 1727, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Coupe, Tom & Noury, Abdul G., 2004. "Choosing not to choose: on the link between information and abstention," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 261-265, August.
  4. Marco Battaglini & Rebecca B. Morton & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2008. "Information Aggregation and Strategic Abstention in Large Laboratory Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 194-200, May.
  5. Matthew Gentzkow, 2006. "Television and Voter Turnout," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(3), pages 931-972, 08.
  6. Richard J. Cebula, 2007. "Influences on the Voter Participation Rate," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 399-412, 04.
  7. Stephen Coate, 2004. "Pareto-Improving Campaign Finance Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 628-655, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Thomas Stratmann, 2011. "Campaign Contributions – What Do They Buy and Should They be Capped?," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 9(1), pages 17-20, 05.
  2. Gisle James Natvik & Jørgen Juel Andersen & Jon H. Fiva, 2010. "Voting when the stakes are high," Working Paper 2010/15, Norges Bank.
  3. Christian Bredemeier, 2014. "Imperfect information and the Meltzer-Richard hypothesis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(3), pages 561-576, June.
  4. Omar Al-Ubaydli & Uri Gneezy & Min Sok Lee & John A. List, 2010. "Towards an understanding of the relative strengths of positive and negative reciprocity," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 5(7), pages 524-539, December.
  5. Emir Kamenica & Louisa Egan Brad, 2014. "Voters, dictators, and peons: expressive voting and pivotality," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(1), pages 159-176, April.
  6. Brandes, Leif & Franck, Egon, 2012. "Social preferences or personal career concerns? Field evidence on positive and negative reciprocity in the workplace," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 925-939.
  7. Christopher Jeffords, 2011. "Preference-Directed Regulation When Ethical Environmental Policy Choices Are Formed With Limited Information," Working Papers 01, University of Connecticut, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Charles J. Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy.

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