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Partisan mail and voter turnout: Results from randomized field experiments

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  • Alan Gerber
  • Donald Green
  • Matthew Green
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    Abstract

    Political campaigns currently make extensive use of direct mail, particularly in state and local races, yet its effects on voter behavior are not well understood. This essay presents the results of large-scale randomized field experiments conducted in Connecticut and New Jersey during state and municipal elections of 1999. Tens of thousands of registered voters were sent from zero to nine pieces of direct mail. The target populations included party registrants with a strong history of voter participation, independents, and a random subset of registered voters. Our results indicate partisan campaign mail does little to stimulate voter turnout and may even dampen it when the mail is negative in tone.

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    File URL: http://karlan.yale.edu/fieldexperiments/papers/00250.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The Field Experiments Website in its series Natural Field Experiments with number 00250.

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    Date of creation: 2003
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    Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00250

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    Web page: http://www.fieldexperiments.com

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    Cited by:
    1. Tuukka Saarimaa & Janne Tukiainen, 2013. "Local representation and strategic voting: evidence from electoral boundary reforms," Working Papers 2013/32, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    2. Lisa M. George & Joel Waldfogel, 2006. "The New York Times and the Market for Local Newspapers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 435-447, March.
    3. Janne Tukiainen & Teemu Lyytikäinen, 2013. "Voters are rational," Working Papers 50, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).

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