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Will a Five-Minute Discussion Change Your Mind? A Countrywide Experiment on Voter Choice in France

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  • Vincent Pons

Abstract

This paper provides the first estimate of the effect of door-to-door canvassing on actual electoral outcomes, via a countrywide experiment embedded in Francois Hollande's campaign in the 2012 French presidential election. While existing experiments randomized door-to-door visits at the individual level, the scale of this campaign (five million doors knocked) enabled randomization by precinct, the level at which vote shares are recorded administratively. Visits did not affect turnout, but increased Hollande's vote share in the first round and accounted for one-fourth of his victory margin in the second. Visits' impact persisted in later elections, suggesting a lasting persuasion effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Vincent Pons, 2018. "Will a Five-Minute Discussion Change Your Mind? A Countrywide Experiment on Voter Choice in France," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(6), pages 1322-1363, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:108:y:2018:i:6:p:1322-63
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20160524
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    Cited by:

    1. Vincenzo Galasso & Tommaso Nannicini & Salvatore Nunnari, 2020. "Positive Spillovers from Negative Campaigning," Working Papers 664, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    2. Rafael Di Tella & Sebastian Galiani & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2019. "Persuasive Propaganda during the 2015 Argentine Ballotage," NBER Working Papers 26321, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • 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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