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Partisan mail and voter turnout: Results from randomized field experiments

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  • Alan Gerber
  • Matthew Green
  • Donald Green

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Gerber & Matthew Green & Donald Green, 2003. "Partisan mail and voter turnout: Results from randomized field experiments," Natural Field Experiments 00250, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00250
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    Cited by:

    1. Saarimaa, Tuukka & Tukiainen, Janne, 2016. "Local representation and strategic voting: Evidence from electoral boundary reforms," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 31-45.
    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. Lyytikäinen, Teemu & Tukiainen, Janne, 2013. "Are Voters Rational?," Working Papers 50, VATT Institute for Economic Research.

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