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How Do Voters Respond to Information? Evidence from a Randomized Campaign

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  • Chad Kendall
  • Tommaso Nannicini
  • Francesco Trebbi

Abstract

In a large-scale controlled trial in collaboration with the reelection campaign of an Italian incumbent mayor, we administered (randomized) messages about the candidate's valence or ideology. Informational treatments affected both actual votes in the precincts and individual vote declarations. Campaigning on valence brought more votes to the incumbent, but both messages affected voters' beliefs. Cross-learning occurred, as voters who received information about the incumbent also updated their beliefs on the opponent. With a novel protocol of beliefs elicitation and structural estimation, we assess the weights voters place upon politicians' valence and ideology, and simulate counterfactual campaigns. (JEL D12, D72, D83)

Suggested Citation

  • Chad Kendall & Tommaso Nannicini & Francesco Trebbi, 2015. "How Do Voters Respond to Information? Evidence from a Randomized Campaign," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(1), pages 322-353, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:1:p:322-53
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20131063
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Magnus Carlsson & Gordon B. Dahl & Dan-Olof Rooth, 2015. "Do Politicians Change Public Attitudes?," NBER Working Papers 21062, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Yuichiro Kamada Jr. & Fuhito Kojima Jr., 2014. "Voter Preferences, Polarization, and Electoral Policies," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 203-236, November.
    3. Christian Ochsner & Felix Rösel, 2017. "Activated History - The Case of the Turkish Sieges of Vienna," CESifo Working Paper Series 6586, CESifo Group Munich.
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    6. Vincenzo Galasso & Tommaso Nannicini, 2016. "Persuasion and Gender: Experimental Evidence from Two Political Campaigns," CESifo Working Paper Series 5868, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Cesi Cruz & Philip Keefer & Julien Labonne, 2016. "Incumbent Advantage, Voter Information and Vote Buying," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 7730, Inter-American Development Bank.
    8. Francesco Drago & Roberto Galbiati & Francesco Sobbrio, 2017. "The Political Cost of Being Soft on Crime: Evidence from a Natural Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 6532, CESifo Group Munich.
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    17. Lukić Tamara & Penjišević Ivana & Đerčan Bojan & Đurđev Branislav & Živković Milka Bubalo & Armenski Tanja, 2014. "Politics in the Balkan countryside: case study in Serbia," Eastern European Countryside, De Gruyter Open, vol. 20(1), pages 99-124, December.
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    22. Laurent Bouton & Micael Castanheira & Allan Drazen, 2018. "A Theory of Small Campaign Contributions," NBER Working Papers 24413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Michaeli, Moti & Spiro, Daniel, 2015. "Norm conformity across societies," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 51-65.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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