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Turned Off or Turned Out? Campaign Advertising,Information, and Voting

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Listed:
  • Daniel Houser

    () (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)

  • Rebecca Morton

    ()

  • Thomas Stratmann

    () (Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science and Department of Economics, George Mason University)

Abstract

We present results from laboratory experimental elections in which voter information is endogenously provided by candidates and voting is voluntary. We also compare advertisements that are costless to voters with those that reduce voter payoffs. We fi?nd that informative advertisements increase voter participation and thus informative campaign advertising "turns out" voters. However, the effect of information is less than that found in previous experimental studies where information is exogenously provided by the experimenter. Furthermore, we find that when advertising by winning candidates reduces voter payoffs, informed voters are less likely to participate, thus are "turned off" rather than "turned out."Finally, we discover that candidates tend to over-advertise, and contrary to theoretical predictions, advertise significantly more when voting is voluntary than when it is compulsory.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Houser & Rebecca Morton & Thomas Stratmann, 2008. "Turned Off or Turned Out? Campaign Advertising,Information, and Voting," Working Papers 1005, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, revised Jul 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:gms:wpaper:1005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Omar Al-Ubaydli & Uri Gneezy & Min Sok Lee & John A. List, 2010. "Towards an understanding of the relative strengths of positive and negative reciprocity," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 5(7), pages 524-539, December.
    2. Christian Bredemeier, 2014. "Imperfect information and the Meltzer-Richard hypothesis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(3), pages 561-576, June.
    3. Ade, Florian & Freier, Ronny & Odendahl, Christian, 2014. "Incumbency effects in government and opposition: Evidence from Germany," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 117-134.
    4. Cesar Martinelli & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2017. "Communication and Information in Games of Collective Decision: A Survey of Experimental Results," Working Papers 1065, George Mason University, Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science.
    5. Garz, Marcel, 2018. "Retirement, consumption of political information, and political knowledge," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 109-119.
    6. Kräkel, Matthias & Nieken, Petra & Przemeck, Judith, 2014. "Risk taking and investing in electoral competition," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 98-120.
    7. Andersen, Jørgen Juel & Fiva, Jon H. & Natvik, Gisle James, 2014. "Voting when the stakes are high," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 157-166.
    8. Christopher Jeffords, 2014. "Preference-directed regulation when ethical environmental policy choices are formed with limited information," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 573-606, March.
    9. Daniel Kling & Thomas Stratmann, 2016. "The Efficacy of Political Advertising: A Voter Participation Field Experiment with Multiple Robo Calls and Controls for Selection Effects," CESifo Working Paper Series 6195, CESifo.
    10. Brandes, Leif & Franck, Egon, 2012. "Social preferences or personal career concerns? Field evidence on positive and negative reciprocity in the workplace," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 925-939.
    11. Zohal Hessami, 2016. "How Do Voters React to Complex Choices in a Direct Democracy? Evidence from Switzerland," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(2), pages 263-293, May.
    12. Emir Kamenica & Louisa Egan Brad, 2014. "Voters, dictators, and peons: expressive voting and pivotality," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(1), pages 159-176, April.
    13. Markussen, Thomas & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2017. "Choosing a public-spirited leader: An experimental investigation of political selection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 204-218.
    14. Gomberg, Andrei & Gutiérrez, Emilio & López, Paulina & Vázquez, Alejandra, 2019. "Coattails and the forces that drive them: Evidence from Mexico," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 64-81.
    15. Baghdasaryan, Vardan & Iannantuoni, Giovanna & Maggian, Valeria, 2019. "Electoral fraud and voter turnout: An experimental study," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 203-219.
    16. Freier, Ronny, 2015. "The mayor's advantage: Causal evidence on incumbency effects in German mayoral elections," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PA), pages 16-30.
    17. Thomas Stratmann, 2011. "Campaign Contributions – What Do They Buy and Should They be Capped?," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 9(1), pages 17-20, 05.
    18. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2014. "The law of large districts: How district magnitude affects the quality of political representation," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 128-140.
    19. Kling, Daniel & Stratmann, Thomas, 2020. "Repeated treatment in a GOTV field experiment: Distinguishing between intensive and extensive margin effects," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 175(C), pages 413-422.
    20. Aimone, Jason A. & Butera, Luigi & Stratmann, Thomas, 2018. "Altruistic punishment in elections," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 149-160.
    21. Stadelmann, David & Torrens, Gustavo, 2020. "Who is the ultimate boss of legislators: Voters, special interest groups or parties?," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224562, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voting; campaign finance; abstention; voter turnout; experiments;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • 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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