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Campaign experiments often report positive effects on voter turnout. But do these effects endure at subsequent elections? Existing studies provide mixed evidence on downstream effects, and the rate at which initial mobilisation effects decay. This paper contributes to existing research by presenting a pre-registered analysis of downstream effects in a unique experimental setting. I test whether effects from a UK partisan experiment in a low turnout election in May 2017 persisted at the high turnout general election a month later. The findings show that in this short space of time, the original turnout effects virtually disappeared, suggesting that downstream effects resulting from campaign experiments can be quickly subsumed by the high saliency of subsequent elections.
Results of an audit study conducted during the 2016 election cycle demonstrate that bias toward Latinos observed during the 2012 election has persisted. In addition to replicating previous results, we show that Arab/Muslim Americans face an even greater barrier to communicating with local election officials, but we find no evidence of bias toward blacks. An innovation of our design allows us to measure whether e-mails were opened by recipients, which we argue provides a direct test of implicit discrimination. We find evidence of implicit bias toward Arab/Muslim senders only.
In this article, we describe two experiments measuring the impact of a collection of interventions informed by behavioural sciences to reduce unemployment. In a small-scale pilot study (n = 2,383) run in partnership with a Jobcentre in the UK, we found that small changes to the way jobseekers interacted with employment advisers showed promising effects. Based on these findings, we refined our intervention and tested it in a second, larger trial (n = 88,033) across 12 Jobcentres in the UK. We found that our intervention significantly increased off-flow from benefits. These experiments demonstrate that policies and programmes aimed at reducing unemployment can benefit greatly from a deeper understanding of the behaviours of jobseekers and employment advisers. Further, we suggest that this approach could have positive implications for other areas of public policy.
Do authoritarian governments’ responses towards different civil society organizations (CSOs) reflect policy differentiations? Building on the existing literature of graduated control, diversification of civil society, and consultative authoritarianism, this paper utilizes an online field experiment,1 and interviews with government officials and CSO leaders to demonstrate that local governments have the tendencies to intentionally treat different CSOs with different policy responses, referred to as “deliberate differentiation” in this paper. However, contrary to what the existing literature would suggest, this study reveals that at the local level, such differentiation is driven more by the state's interest in extracting productivity and outsourcing responsibility for the provision of public goods and less by the state's need to acquire information from CSOs, including politically sensitive advocacy groups.
Corruption is widespread in many developing countries, though public officials’ discretion in the solicitation of bribes may expose some citizens to more corruption than others. We derive expectations about how shared ethnicity between government officials and citizens should influence the likelihood of bribe solicitation. We evaluate these expectations through a field experiment in which Malawian confederates seek electricity connections from real government offices – an interaction that is often accompanied by bribe solicitation. Our field experiment exogenously varied coethnicity between the official and the confederate. We find that coethnicity increases the likelihood of expediting an electricity connection, both with and without a bribe, which we interpret as evidence of parochial corruption.
This short report exploits a unique opportunity to investigate the implications of response bias in survey questions about voter turnout and vote choice in new democracies. We analyze data from a field experiment in Benin, where we gathered official election results and panel survey data representative at the village level, allowing us to directly compare average outcomes across both measurement instruments in a large number of units. We show that survey respondents consistently overreport turning out to vote and voting for the incumbent, and that the bias is large and worse in contexts where question sensitivity is higher. This has important implications for the inferences we draw about an experimental treatment, indicating that the response bias we identify is correlated with treatment. Although the results using the survey data suggest that the treatment had the hypothesized impact, they are also consistent with social desirability bias. By contrast, the administrative data lead to the conclusion that the treatment had no effect.
Key [1949. Southern Politics in State and Nation. New York: A.A. Knopf] observed voters tend to support local candidates at higher rates, a phenomenon he termed “friends-and-neighbors” voting. In a recent study, Panagopoulos et al. [2017. Political Behavior 39(4): 865–82] deployed a nonpartisan randomized field experiment to show that voters in the September 2014 primary election for state senate in Massachusetts were mobilized on the basis of shared geography. County ties and, to a lesser extent, hometown ties between voters and candidates have the capacity to drive voters to the polls. We partnered with a national party organization to conduct a similar, partisan experiment in the November 2014 general election for the Pennsylvania state senate. We find localism cues can stimulate voting in elections, including in neighboring communities that lie beyond the towns and counties in which the target candidate resided, at least among voters favorably disposed to a candidate and even when voters reside in the home county of the opponent.
Reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption is a public health priority, yet finding an effective and acceptable policy intervention is challenging. One strategy is to use proportional pricing (a consistent price per fluid ounce) instead of the typical value-priced approach where large beverages offer better value. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate whether proportional pricing affects the purchasing of fountain beverages at a university cinema concession stand.
Four price strategies for beverages were evaluated over ten weekends of film screenings. We manipulated two factors: the price structure (value pricing v. proportional pricing) and the provision of information about the price per fluid ounce (labels v. no labels). The key outcomes were the number and size of beverages purchased. We analysed data using regression analyses, with standard errors clustered by film and controlling for the day and time of purchase.
A university cinema concession stand in Minnesota, USA, in spring 2015.
Over the study period (360 beverages purchased) there were no significant effects of the proportional pricing treatment. Pairing a label with the standard value pricing increased the likelihood of purchasing large drinks but the label did not affect purchasing when paired with proportional pricing.
Proportional prices did not significantly affect the size of beverages purchased by students at a university cinema, but adding a price-per-ounce label increased large drink purchases when drinks were value-priced. More work is needed to address whether pricing and labelling strategies might promote healthier beverage purchases.
This study investigates the effects of a local information campaign on farmers’ interest in a rural development programme (RDP) in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. The results suggest that while our intervention succeeded in informing farmers, it had a negative, albeit only marginally significant, effect on the reported possibility of using future RDP support. This puzzling result can be attributed to increased awareness of administrative burden associated with RDP participation. An additional heterogeneity analysis suggests the negative effect is driven by unprofitable farmers who are averse to any administrative encumbrance, for whom upfront cofinancing of an RDP is untenable.
In the current study, simulations by five crop models (WOFOST, CERES-Barley, HERMES, DAISY and AQUACROP) were compared for 7–12 growing seasons of spring barley (Hordeum vulgare) at three sites in the Czech Republic. The aims were to compare how various process-based crop models with different calculation approaches simulate different values of transpiration (Ta) and evapotranspiration (ET) based on the same input data and compare the outputs of these simulations with reference data. From the outputs of each model, the water use efficiency (WUE) from Ta (WUETa) and from actual ET (WUEETa) was calculated for grain yields and above-ground biomass yield. The results of the first part of the study show that the model with the Penman approach for calculating ET simulates lower actual ET (ETa) sums, at an average of 250 mm during the growing season, than other models, which use the Penman–Monteith approach and simulate 330 mm on average during the growing season. In the second part of the current study, WUE reference values in the range 1.9–2.4 kg/m3 were calculated for spring barley and grain yield. Values of WUETa/WUEETa calculated from the outputs of individual models for grain yields and above-ground biomass yields ranged from 2.0/1.0 to 5.9/3.8 kg/m3 with an average value of 3.2/2.0 kg/m3 and from 3.9/2.1 to 10.5/6.8 kg/m3 with an average value of 6.5/4.0 kg/m3, respectively. The results confirm that the average values of all models are nearest to actual values.
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 finding is shown to be consistent with other experiments that have sent large quantities of mail. We interpret these results in light of marketing research on repetitive messaging.
This study uses an experiment where ferry passengers are sold hotel room “views” to evaluate the impact of wind turbines views on tourists’ vacation experience. Participants purchase a chance for a weekend hotel stay. Information about the hotel rooms was limited to the quality of the hotel and its distance from a large wind turbine, as well as whether or not a particular room would have a view of the turbine. While there was generally a negative effect of turbine views, this did not hold across all participants, and did not seem to be effected by distance or hotel quality.
Novel ecosystems formed by invasive plants provide a good opportunity to get insight into early dynamics and pattern formation of these ecosystems. The invasive black locust as host plant, Bruchophagus robiniae as host-specific seed predator and its parasitoids were the components of the studied tritrophic system. To investigate disturbance-driven dynamics of this system we created seed-vacated host plant patches in a field experiment. We removed all pods from selected patches of black locust resulting in an induced local extinction of seed predators and their parasitoids. We hypothesized that disturbance enhances top-down control by parasitoids; this enhanced top-down control decreases seed predation, facilitating the host plant's spread. We found that disturbance modified only parasitism after controlling with year effect: in vacated patches median parasitism was higher than in control patches. Seed predation exceeded its initial level in vacated patches in the third year after the disturbance, but in the fourth year it dropped again presumably due to the strong top-down control. Our findings also suggested that the seed predator was also affected by the bottom-up control of its host plant's density. We found that in the studied new ecosystem the top-down control was strengthened by the disturbance. Since the host plant of the tritrophic system is an invasive species, partial habitat disturbance of such species may increase the severity of parasitoid top-down control, which may reduce seed predation by the herbivores.
Oyster aquaculture has experienced tremendous growth in the United States over the past decade, but little is known about consumer preferences for oysters. This study analyzed preferences for oysters with varied combinations of brands, production locations, and production methods (aquaculture vs. wild-caught) using dichotomous choice, revealed preference economic field experiments. Results suggest significant and distinct differences in behavior between first-time and regular oyster consumers. While infrequent oyster consumers were drawn to oysters labeled as wild-caught, experienced oyster consumers preferred oysters raised via aquaculture. These findings will be valuable for growers and policymakers who invest in aquaculture to improve surrounding ecosystems.
Maintenance of biodiversity in tropical agrarian landscapes is challenging in the face of anthropomorphic simplification of habitats. As part of an experiment testing influences of planting treatment on tree recruitment in southern Mexico, counts of bird species were made over 10 years in twenty-four 30 × 30-m fenced plots in over-grazed pasture. Plots were planted with native tree species or left as unplanted controls in 2006. Annual censuses of birds in the plots from 2007–2016 indicated statistically significant increases in the number of fruit-eating species and individuals as vegetation matured, but increases in non-frugivorous species and individuals over the decade were not significant. Among four species of planted animal-dispersed trees that bore fruit during this time, Cecropia obtusifolia consistently produced substantial crops after 2009. In 2015, all 53 planted or passively recruited female trees of mature size of this species bore fruit. The summed body masses of fruit-eating birds in each of 24 plots were significantly correlated with rank order of available fruit per plot. Differential use of habitat patches in an agrarian landscape suggested substantial value to frugivores, but less to non-frugivorous birds than expected.
Because non-voters are less politically informed than voters, some propose that increasing voter turnout would reduce the quality of information among the active voting population, damaging electoral outcomes. However, the proposed tradeoff between increased participation and informed participation is a false dichotomy. This article demonstrates that political information is endogenous to participation. A field experiment integrates an intensive mobilization treatment into a panel survey conducted before and after a city-wide election. Subjects who were mobilized to vote also became more informed about the content of the election. The results suggest institutions that encourage participation not only increase voter turnout – mobilizing electoral participation also motivates citizens to become more politically informed.
Do politicians engage in ethnic and racial favoritism when conducting constituency service? This article presents results from a replication field experiment with local South African politicians that tested for racial bias in responsiveness to requests about public goods provision. The experiment represents an adaptation of similar experiments conducted in the United States, extending the design to a different institutional environment, albeit one with a similar racially-charged history. Although one might suppose that politicians in South Africa would seek to avoid racial bias given the recent transition to full democracy, I find that South African politicians—both black and white—are more responsive to same-race constituents than to other-race constituents. Same-race bias is evident in both the dominant and the main opposition political parties. Moreover, politicians are not particularly responsive to anyone. Implications for the further study of democratic responsiveness are discussed.
By 2009, two decades of war and widespread displacement left the majority of the population of Northern Uganda impoverished.
This study used a cluster-randomized design to test the hypothesis that a poverty alleviation program would improve economic security and reduce symptoms of depression in a sample of mostly young women. Roughly 120 villages in Northern Uganda were invited to participate. Community committees were asked to identify the most vulnerable women (and some men) to participate. The implementing agency screened all proposed participants, and a total of 1800 were enrolled. Following a baseline survey, villages were randomized to a treatment or wait-list control group. Participants in treatment villages received training, start-up capital, and follow-up support. Participants, implementers, and data collectors were not blinded to treatment status.
Villages were randomized to the treatment group (60 villages with 896 participants) or the wait-list control group (60 villages with 904 participants) with an allocation ration of 1:1. All clusters participated in the intervention and were included in the analysis. The intent-to-treat analysis included 860 treatment participants and 866 control participants (4.1% attrition). Sixteen months after the program, monthly cash earnings doubled from UGX 22 523 to 51 124, non-household and non-farm businesses doubled, and cash savings roughly quadrupled. There was no measurable effect on a locally derived measure of symptoms of depression.
Despite finding large increases in business, income, and savings among the treatment group, we do not find support for an indirect effect of poverty alleviation on symptoms of depression.
We use data from hypothetical and nonhypothetical choice-based conjoint analysis to estimate willingness to pay for local food products. The survey was administered to three groups: consumers from a buying club with experience with local and grass-fed production markets, a random sample of Maryland residents, and shoppers at a nonspecialty Maryland supermarket. We find that random-sample and supermarket shoppers are willing to pay a premium for local products but view local and grass-fed production as substitutes. Conversely, buying-club members are less willing to pay for local production than the other groups but do not conflate local and grass-fed production.