How Do Voters Respond to Information? Evidence from a Randomized Campaign
Rational voters update their subjective beliefs about candidates' attributes with the arrival of information, and subsequently base their votes on these beliefs. Information accrual is, however, endogenous to voters' types and difficult to identify in observational studies. In a large scale randomized trial conducted during an actual mayoral campaign in Italy, we expose different areas of the polity to controlled informational treatments about the valence and ideology of the incumbent through verifiable informative messages sent by the incumbent reelection campaign. Our treatments affect both actual vote shares at the precinct level and vote declarations at the individual level. We explicitly investigate the process of belief updating by comparing the elicited priors and posteriors of voters, finding heterogeneous responses to information. Based on the elicited beliefs, we are able to structurally assess the relative weights voters place upon a candidate's valence and ideology. We find that both valence and ideological messages affect the first and second moments of the belief distribution, but only campaigning on valence brings more votes to the incumbent. With respect to ideology, cross-learning occurs, as voters who receive information about the incumbent also update their beliefs about the opponent. Finally, we illustrate how to perform counterfactual campaigns based upon the structural model.
|Date of creation:||Apr 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published in: American Economic Review, 2015, 105 (1), 322-353|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Elisabeth R. Gerber & Jeffrey B. Lewis, 2004. "Beyond the Median: Voter Preferences, District Heterogeneity, and Political Representation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1364-1383, December.
- Alan Gerber & Donald Green & Ron Shachar, 2003. "Voting may be habit forming: Evidence from a randomized field experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00251, The Field Experiments Website.
- Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas. R., 2000.
"Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model With a Favored Candidate,"
1102, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model with a Favored Candidate," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 131-161, March.
- Enriqueta Aragonés & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2000. "Mixed equilibrium in a Downsian model with a favored candidate," Economics Working Papers 502, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
- Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001.
"Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
- DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 2001. "Preferences over inflation and unemployment: Evidence from surveys of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-2001, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
- Asher A. Blass & Saul Lach & Charles F. Manski, 2010.
"Using Elicited Choice Probabilities To Estimate Random Utility Models: Preferences For Electricity Reliability,"
International Economic Review,
Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(2), pages 421-440, 05.
- Blass, Asher & Lach, Saul & Manski, Charles, 2008. "Using Elicited Choice Probabilities to Estimate Random Utility Models: Preferences for Electricity Reliability," CEPR Discussion Papers 7030, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Asher A. Blass & Saul Lach & Charles F. Manski, 2008. "Using Elicited Choice Probabilities to Estimate Random Utility Models: Preferences for Electricity Reliability," NBER Working Papers 14451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Vuong, Quang H, 1989. "Likelihood Ratio Tests for Model Selection and Non-nested Hypotheses," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(2), pages 307-33, March.
- Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1996.
"Eliciting Student Expectations of the Returns to Schooling,"
Journal of Human Resources,
University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 1-26.
- Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Eliciting Student Expectations Of The Returns To Schooling," Econometrics 9411002, EconWPA.
- J. Dominitz & C. F. Manski, . "Eliciting student expectations of the returns to schooling," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1049-94, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
- Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Eliciting Student Expectations of the Returns to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 4936, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect Or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859, August.
- John Duffy & Margit Tavits, 2006. "Beliefs and Voting Decisions: A Test of the Pivotal Voter Model," Working Papers 273, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised May 2007.
- Leonard Wantchekon, 2003. "Clientelism and voting behavior: Evidence from a field experiment in benin," Natural Field Experiments 00339, The Field Experiments Website.
- Mark N. Hertzendorf & Per Baltzer Overgaard, 2001. "Price Competition and Advertising Signals: Signaling by Competing Senders," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 621-662, December.
- Pedro C. Vicente, 2007. "Is Vote Buying Effective? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in West Africa," Economics Series Working Papers 318, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
- Stephen Coate, 2004.
"Political Competition with Campaign Contributions and Informative Advertising,"
Journal of the European Economic Association,
MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 772-804, 09.
- Stephen Coate, 2001. "Political Competition with Campaign Contributions and Informative Advertising," NBER Working Papers 8693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Basit Zafar, 2009.
"College major choice and the gender gap,"
364, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- Manski, Charles F. & Molinari, Francesca, 2010. "Rounding Probabilistic Expectations in Surveys," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 28(2), pages 219-231.
- Polborn, Mattias K. & David T., Yi, 2006. "Informative Positive and Negative Campaigning," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 1(4), pages 351-371, October.
- Garthwaite, Paul H. & Kadane, Joseph B. & O'Hagan, Anthony, 2005. "Statistical Methods for Eliciting Probability Distributions," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 100, pages 680-701, June.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7340. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.