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Advertising Effects in Presidential Elections

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  • Gordon, Brett R.

    (Columbia University)

  • Hartmann, Wesley R.

    (Stanford University)

Abstract

We estimate advertising effects in the context of presidential elections. This setting overcomes many data challenges in previous advertising studies, while arguably providing one of the most interesting empirical settings to study advertising's effects. The four-year presidential election cycle facilitates measurement in two ways. First, the gap between elections depreciates past advertising stocks such that large advertising investments are concentrated within relatively short periods. Second, the lack of political advertising between elections allows lagged advertising prices to serve as instruments that are safely independent of candidates' current advertising choices. To further aid estimation, the winner-take-all nature of the electoral college generates broad variation in advertising levels across states. We analyze the data using an aggregate discrete choice approach with extensive fixed effects at the party-market level to control for unobservable cross-sectional factors that might be correlated with advertising, outcomes, and instruments. The results indicate significant positive effects of advertising exposures for the 2000 and 2004 general elections. Advertising elasticities are smaller than are typical for branded goods, yet significant enough to shift election outcomes. For example, if advertising were set to zero and all other factors held constant, three states' electoral votes would have changed parties in 2000, leading to a different president.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Stanford University, Graduate School of Business in its series Research Papers with number 2080.

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Date of creation: Jun 2011
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:2080

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  1. Arianna Degan & Antonio Merlo, 2011. "A Structural Model Of Turnout And Voting In Multiple Elections," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 209-245, 04.
  2. Marie Rekkas, 2007. "The Impact of Campaign Spending on Votes in Multiparty Elections," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 573-585, August.
  3. Brett Gordon & Mitchell Lovett & Ron Shachar & Kevin Arceneaux & Sridhar Moorthy & Michael Peress & Akshay Rao & Subrata Sen & David Soberman & Oleg Urminsky, 2012. "Marketing and politics: Models, behavior, and policy implications," Marketing Letters, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 391-403, June.
  4. Draganska, Michaela & Klapper, Daniel, 2010. "Choice Set Heterogeneity and the Role of Advertising: An Analysis with Micro and Macro Data," Research Papers 2063, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  5. C. Clark & Ulrich Doraszelski & Michaela Draganska, 2009. "The effect of advertising on brand awareness and perceived quality: An empirical investigation using panel data," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 7(2), pages 207-236, June.
  6. Thomas Stratmann, 2009. "How prices matter in politics: the returns to campaign advertising," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(3), pages 357-377, September.
  7. Toker Doganoglu & Daniel Klapper, 2006. "Goodwill and dynamic advertising strategies," Quantitative Marketing and Economics, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 5-29, March.
  8. Coate, Stephen & Conlin, Michael & Moro, Andrea, 2008. "The performance of pivotal-voter models in small-scale elections: Evidence from Texas liquor referenda," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 582-596, April.
  9. Kadiyali, Vrinda & Vilcassim, Naufel & Chintagunta, Pradeep, 1998. "Product line extensions and competitive market interactions: An empirical analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1-2), pages 339-363, November.
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