Tag Archives: turnout

Personality and Civic Engagement: An Integrative Framework for the Study of Trait Effects on Political Behavior

We cannot understand the effects of personality without accounting for the environment, and we cannot understand the effects of the environment without accounting for personality. Political scientists pay very little attention to personality when they study political behavior. Instead, they prefer to look at environmental variables (campaign spending, personal income, personal education, candidate quality, electoral […]

Using Experiments to Estimate the Effects of Education on Voter Turnout

Education does, indeed, have a robust causal effect on voter turnout. Suppose you’re in a room full of people and you want to know which of them are most likely to be active voters, but you’re not allowed to ask them about their political activity. The best question you can ask them: How many years […]

Moral Bias in Large Elections: Theory and Experimental Evidence

In late 2003, Howard Dean lamented that southern white guys with confederate flags on their trucks ought to be voting for Democrats; after all, it’s the Democrats who want to help the working classes. Folks like Dean think that these southern white guys are being duped by wealthy upper-crust Republicans, who trick the southerners into […]

Does Voting History Matter? Analysing Persistence in Turnout

Yes, voting is habit-forming, but to a lesser extent than reported previously. Denny and Doyle have a straightforward point in this article: Yes, voting is habit-forming, but to a lesser extent than reported previously. In a widely discussed article, Gerber, Green, and Shachar (2003) reported that voting in one election raises the probability of voting […]

Who is Mobilized to Vote? A Re-Analysis of 11 Field Experiments

Efficient campaign managers should identify these fence-sitters and mobilize only them Recent randomized experiments have shown that door-to-door mobilization efforts can have massive payoffs, boosting turnout by 7 to 10 percentage points among those targeted. But although previous studies have shown that mobilization has a large aggregate effect, they have not shown whether mobilization effects […]

Is Voting Contagious? Evidence from Two Field Experiments

This “contagion effect” has a stronger effect on turnout than education, income, or age. Nowhere will you find a human relationship associated with more similarities in voting behavior than you will find between a husband and wife. But what causes husbands and wives to embrace similar ideologies, issue positions, and turnout rates? Maybe it’s just […]

Social Pressure and Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment

Suppose that the government made a habit of sending your neighbors a letter after every election, telling them whether or not you had bothered to vote. Would you be more likely to turn out? Suppose that the government made a habit of sending your neighbors a letter after every election, telling them whether or not […]

Vote Buying or Turnout Buying? Machine Politics and the Secret Ballot

Are we observing “vote buying” (as we usually assume) or “turnout buying”? The question isn’t merely academic; “vote buying” smacks of corruption, but “turnout buying” looks more like mobilization Suppose that the Republicans started knocking doors on your street offering you and your neighbors a new flatscreen television if you come out and vote for […]