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Nudging the electorate: what works and why?

Author

Listed:
  • Felix Koelle

    (Department of Economics, University of Cologne)

  • Tom Lane

    (Department of Economics, University of Nottingham)

  • Daniele Nosenzo

    (School of Economics, University of Nottingham)

  • Chris Starmer

    () (School of Economics, University of Nottingham)

Abstract

We report two studies investigating whether, and if so how, different interventions affect voter registration rates. In a natural field experiment conducted before the 2015 UK General Election, we varied messages on a postcard sent by Oxford City Council to unregistered student voters encouraging them to register to vote. Relative to a baseline, emphasising negative monetary incentives (the possibility of being fined) significantly increased registration rates, while positive monetary incentives (chances of winning a lottery) had no significant effects. In the second study, we show that the success of the negative monetary incentive intervention and failure of the positive monetary incentive intervention can be partly explained by social norms.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:not:notcdx:2017-16
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voter Registration; Voting; Field Experiment; Nudging; Social Norms; Fines; Rewards;

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