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Can ATMs Get Out the Vote? Evidence from a Nationwide Field Experiment

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  • Pereira Santos, João
  • Tavares, José
  • Vicente, Pedro C

Abstract

We report on a large-scale field experiment to assess ATMs (automatic teller machines) capacity to "get out the vote". This is a heretofore unexploited method. Our experimental design used the universe of functioning ATMs in Portugal. We randomly selected a set of treatment civil parishes, where a civic message took over the totality of ad time, which we compare with a set of control areas. The campaign we follow was active for three days before and during the 2017 local elections. Although we do not achieve statistical significance on a stable but small average treatment effect, when we consider the intensity of treatment, results show a statistically significant increase in the likelihood of voting. Placebo tests using turnout rates in previous elections strengthen our interpretation. We ran a post-treatment survey around ATMs located in two neighbouring civil parishes, one treated, the other not. We found a sizeable difference in recall.

Suggested Citation

  • Pereira Santos, João & Tavares, José & Vicente, Pedro C, 2019. "Can ATMs Get Out the Vote? Evidence from a Nationwide Field Experiment," CEPR Discussion Papers 13991, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13991
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    2. Bruno P. Carvalho & Susana Peralta & João Pereira dos Santos, 2022. "Regional and sectorial impacts of the Covid‐19 crisis: Evidence from electronic payments," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 62(3), pages 757-798, June.
    3. Batalha, Mafalda & Gonçalves, Duarte & Peralta, Susana & Pereira dos Santos, João, 2022. "The virus that devastated tourism: The impact of covid-19 on the housing market," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    ATMs; Local Elections; Portugal; Voter mobilization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H70 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - General

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