This study evaluates the turnout effects of automated telephone calls placed to voters in advance of the 2016 Texas primary election. Voters in twenty-three state legislative districts were assigned to receive between zero and seven calls from an interest group encouraging them to vote in the election. Automated calls raise turnout, with turnout appearing to … Continue reading How Many Robocalls are Too Many
Despite decades of research on the persuasive effects of propaganda, little is known about opinion change in the wake of newspaper reports of scandal involving public officials. To what extent and under what conditions do opinions change in the wake of information conveyed through newspapers? We conducted five experiments to assess how publicizing scandal in … Continue reading Publicizing scandal: Results from five field experiments
Recent work in political science has argued that policy outcomes at the national level are more responsive to the preferences of the affluent than to the preferences of lower-income Americans, so much so as to perhaps lead to conclusions of elite domination. This line of work tends to minimize or disregard party—not only any differences … Continue reading The Party or the Purse?
It is standard in regression discontinuity analysis to control for third- or fifth-degree polynomials of the assignment variable. Such models can overfit, leading to causal inferences that are substantively implausible in which variation is somewhat arbitrarily attributed to high-degree polynomial or the discontinuity. We discuss in the context of two examples: first, an example of Green et al. … Continue reading Polynomial regression discontinuity designs
Theories of legislative committees, lobbying, and cue-taking assume information affects legislators’ support for policy alternatives. However, there is little direct, empirical evidence to support this foundational assumption about legislative behavior. This paper reports results from a field experiment conducted in a state legislature in which state legislators were randomly assigned to receive a technical policy … Continue reading How Much does Information Influence Legislative Behavior
This study evaluates the turnout effects of direct mail sent in advance of the 2014 New Hampshire Senate election. Registered Republican women were sent up to 10 mailings from a conservative advocacy group that encouraged participation in the upcoming election. We find that mail raises turnout, but no gains are achieved beyond five mailers. This … Continue reading How much GOTV mail is too much?
A large and growing empirical literature finds that candidates with more extreme policy positions tend to do worse in the general election. This paper investigates why more extreme candidates tend to have lower general election vote shares than moderates from the same party. Using a new dataset identifying Tea Party Republican candidates for state and federal offices, our … Continue reading What happens to Tea Party candidates who win primaries?
Despite its importance to theories of democratic legitimacy and legislative organization, little is known about the effects of deliberation on legislators’ policy positions. To what extent and under what conditions do legislators change their positions on policy proposals in response to discussion with peers? This paper reports a field experiment conducted alongside legislators in which … Continue reading Can deliberation reduce partisanship?
Information-sharing motivates the organization of legislatures and the daily activities of their members. However, studying the transmission of information and its effects on individual behavior faces daunting measurement and identification challenges. This study utilizes two legislative field experiments to estimate the degree to which information’s influence spreads between legislators. Randomly-assigned informational briefings affected the position-taking … Continue reading Is information contagious?