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Men Vote in Mars, Women Vote in Venus: A Survey Experiment in the Field

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  • Vincenzo Galasso
  • Tommaso Nannicini

Abstract

This paper investigates the differential response of male and female voters to competitive persuasion in political campaigns. During the 2011 municipal elections in Milan, a sample of eligible voters was randomly divided into three groups. Two were exposed to the same incumbent’s campaign but to different opponent’s campaigns, with either a positive or a negative tone. The third—control—group received no electoral information. The campaigns were administered online and consisted of a bundle of advertising tools (videos, texts, slogans). Stark gender differences emerge. Negative advertising increases men’s turnout, but has no effect on women. Females, however, vote more for the opponent and less for the incumbent when they are exposed to the opponent’s positive campaign. Exactly the opposite occurs for males. Additional tests show that our results are not driven by gender identification with the candidate, ideology, or other voter’s observable attributes. Effective strategies of persuasive communication should thus take gender into account. Our results may also help to reconcile the conflicting evidence on the effect of negative vs. positive advertising, as the average impact may wash out when aggregated across gender.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 4328.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_4328

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Keywords: gender differences; political campaigns; competitive persuasion;

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  1. Marianne Bertrand & Dean Karlan & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "What's Advertising Content Worth? Evidence from a Consumer Credit Marketing Field Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 263-305, February.
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  7. Alan Gerber & Donald Green & Ron Shachar, 2003. "Voting may be habit forming: Evidence from a randomized field experiment," Natural Field Experiments, The Field Experiments Website 00251, The Field Experiments Website.
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  14. Marianne Bertrand & Dean S. Karlan & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir & Jonathan Zinman, 2005. "What's Psychology Worth? A Field Experiment in the Consumer Credit Market," Working Papers, Economic Growth Center, Yale University 918, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  15. Stefano DellaVigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier, 2012. "Testing for Altruism and Social Pressure in Charitable Giving," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 1-56.
  16. Audinga Baltrunaite & Piera Bello & Alessandra Casarico & Paola Profeta, 2013. "Gender quotas and the quality of politicians," Working Papers 2013-11, FEDEA.
  17. Uri Gneezy & Aldo Rustichini, 2004. "Gender and Competition at a Young Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 377-381, May.
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As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Gender differences in positive and negative campaigning
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2013-09-10 13:54:00

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