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Turned on or turned out? Campaign advertising, information and voting

Daniel Houser (), Rebecca Morton and Thomas Stratmann ()

European Journal of Political Economy, 2011, vol. 27, issue 4, 708-727

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 find 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 overadvertise, and contrary to theoretical predictions, advertise significantly more when voting is voluntary than when it is compulsory.

Keywords: Campaign finance; Abstention; Turnout; Elections (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C92 D72 D83 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
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Working Paper: Turned Off or Turned Out? Campaign Advertising,Information, and Voting (2008) Downloads
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