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The effects of canvassing, direct mail, and telephone contact on voter turnout: A field experiment

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  • Alan Gerber
  • Donald Green

Abstract

We report the results of a randomized field experiment involving approximately 30,000 registered voters in New Haven, Connecticut. Nonpartisan get-out-the-vote messages were conveyed through personal canvassing, direct mail, and telephone calls shortly before the November 1998 election. A variety of substantive messages were used. Voter turnout was increased substantially by personal canvassing, slightly by direct mail, and not at all by telephone calls. These findings support our hypothesis that the long-term retrenchment in voter turnout is partly attributable to the decline in face-to-face political mobilization.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Gerber & Donald Green, 2000. "The effects of canvassing, direct mail, and telephone contact on voter turnout: A field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00248, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00248
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    Cited by:

    1. Jared Barton & Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie, 2014. "What Persuades Voters? A Field Experiment on Political Campaigning," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(574), pages 293-326, February.
    2. Alan Gerber & Donald Green & David Nickerson, 2003. "The challenge of bringing voter mobilization to scale: An evaluation of youth vote 2002 phone banking campaigns," Natural Field Experiments 00261, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. J. Ryan Lamare, 2016. "Labor Unions and Political Mobilization: Diminishing Returns of Repetitious Contact," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 346-374, April.
    4. Griffin, John & Nickerson, David & Wozniak, Abigail, 2012. "Racial differences in inequality aversion: Evidence from real world respondents in the ultimatum game," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 600-617.
    5. David W. Nickerson & Todd Rogers, 2014. "Political Campaigns and Big Data," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(2), pages 51-74, Spring.
    6. Shane Fudge & Michael Peters & Steven M. Hoffman & Walter Wehrmeyer (ed.), 2013. "The Global Challenge of Encouraging Sustainable Living," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14851, April.
    7. Kosuke Imai, 2009. "Statistical analysis of randomized experiments with non-ignorable missing binary outcomes: an application to a voting experiment," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series C, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 58(1), pages 83-104.
    8. Christine Fauvelle-Aymar & Abel François, 2015. "Mobilization, cost of voting and turnout: a natural randomized experiment with double elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 162(1), pages 183-199, January.
    9. Stefano Dellavigna & John A. List & Ulrike Malmendier & Gautam Rao, 2017. "Voting to Tell Others," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 143-181.
    10. Felix Koelle & Tom Lane & Daniele Nosenzo & Chris Starmer, 2017. "Nudging the electorate: what works and why?," Discussion Papers 2017-16, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    11. Cornwall, Tom & Kessler, Anke, 2012. "Does Misinformation Demobilize the Electorate? Measuring the Impact of Alleged 'Robocalls' in the 2011 Canadian Election," CEPR Discussion Papers 8945, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Alan Gerber & Donald Green, 2001. "Getting out the youth vote: Results from randomized field experiments," Natural Field Experiments 00260, The Field Experiments Website.

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