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

Author(s): 

Gerber, Alan S., Donald P. Green, and Christopher W. Larimer

ISPS ID: 
D001
Research design: 
Data type: 
Administrative
Data source(s): 

“Qualified Voter File” (QVF), the official state voter list (as constructed by Mark Grebner at Practical Political Consulting)

Field date: 
August 1, 2006
Location: 
Location details: 
Michigan
Unit of observation: 
Households
Sample size: 
180,002 households; 344,084 individuals/registered voters
Inclusion/exclusion: 
Households in the state of Michigan: The targeting criteria used in this mailing campaign were developed by a political consultant, Mark Grebner who uses targeting criteria based on a combination of address information readily available from the Qualified Voter File (QVF) and a set of proprietary indices of partisanship and voting behavior developed by his consulting firm. Grebner’s targeting objective was to direct mailings to those who were thought to be especially responsive to them. Mailings were therefore sent to voters whose expected probability of voting was deemed to be moderate. Those believed to be strong Democrats were excluded on the grounds that they had little chance of voting in an election that was meaningful mainly to Republicans. Absentee voters were excluded because they were believed to vote early, before the receipt of these mailings. Sparsely populated streets were excluded because the Neighbors treatment requires the voting histories of several neighbors. Apartment addresses were excluded because apartment numbers are sometimes unreliable, and it is hard to be certain which voters belong to the same household... We removed everyone for whom we could not assign a valid 9-digit ZIP, people who live on blocks where more than 10% of the addresses included apartment numbers, people who live on streets with fewer than four addresses (or fewer than 10 voters). Prior to random assignment we also removed households with the following characteristics: all members of the household had over a 60% probability of voting by absentee ballot if they voted or all household members had a greater than a 60% probability of choosing the Democratic primary rather than the Republican primary. Absentees were removed because it was thought that many would have decided to vote or not prior to receipt of the experimental mailings, which were sent to arrive just a few days before the election. Those considered overwhelmingly likely to favor the Democratic primary were excluded because it was thought that, given the lack of contested primaries, these citizens would tend to ignore pre election mailings. We removed everyone who lived in a route where fewer than 25 households remained, because the production process depended on using carrier-route-presort standard mail. Finally, we removed all those who had abstained in the 2004 general election on the grounds that those not voting in this very high turnout election were likely to be “deadwood”—those who had moved, died, or registered under more than one name.
Randomization procedure: 
Households were randomly assigned to either the control group or one of four treatment groups described next. Each treatment group consisted of approximately 20,000 households, with 99,999 households in the control group. The 180,002 households were sorted exactly into the order required by the USPS for “ECRLOT” eligibility (approximately: by ZIP, carrier route; then the order in which the carrier walks the route). The 180,002 households were then divided into 10,000 cells of 18 households each, with each cell consisting of households 1–18, 19–36, and so forth, of the sorted file. As a result, after sorting, each cell consisted entirely of either one or two carrier routes. A random number was generated and the entire 180,002 records were sorted by cell number and the random number. The effect was to leave all the cells together, but in a random order. Using this randomly sorted copy of the file, the records were assigned to treatments 1/1/2/2/3/3/4/4/c/c/c/c/c/c/c/c/c/c where “c” indicates “control group.” The records were then resorted into carrier route order.
Treatment: 
Mailing; Households assigned to treatment groups were sent one mailing 11 days prior to the primary election. There were 4 conditions: Civic Duty, Hawthorne, Self, and Neighbors and a Control group.
Treatment administration: 
Mail
Outcome measures: 
Turnout in 2006 local elections
Archive date: 
2009
Archive contributor: 
Limor Peer
Owner: 
Gerber, Alan S., Donald P. Green, and Christopher W. Larimer
Owner contact: 

isps(at)yale(dot)edu

Terms of use: 

Academic, non commercial use only >>more

Discipline: 
Area of study: 
Data files
Data file numbersort descending Description File format Size File url
D001F01 Dataset (individuals) Excel .csv 11.9 KB

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D001F03 Dataset (households) Excel .csv 6.75 MB

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D001F04 Dataset (households) Stata (10.0) .dta 13.7 MB

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  4. Should you wish to redistribute Replication Files or include them in a new data product or service, you must receive permission from ISPS.
  5. You will not use ISPS Replication Files to obtain information that could directly or indirectly identify subjects, produce links among ISPS Data Archive datasets or among the ISPS Data Archive datasets and other datasets for the purpose of obtaining information about subjects, or otherwise obtain information about subjects except where the use and/or release of such identifying information has no potential for constituting an unwarranted invasion of privacy and/or breach of confidentiality. Anything that can potentially breach participants’ confidentiality should be promptly reported to ISPS.
  6. ISPS makes no guarantee or warranty concerning the accuracy of information contained in the data or metadata including, but not limited to, loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any content uploaded, posted, emailed, shared and/or otherwise made available via the ISPS Data Archive.
  7. Although data files in the ISPS Data Archive may have been processed successfully on computers at Yale University, no warranty is made by ISPS or Yale University regarding the use of data on any other system, nor does the fact of distribution constitute or imply any such warranty.
  8. ISPS further makes no warranty, either expressed or implied, regarding the condition of the data or metadata, or its fitness for any particular purpose. The burden for determining fitness for use lies entirely with the user.
  9. You will reference the bibliographic citation accompanying the Replication Files, including any datasets, program files, output files, metadata records, treatment materials, codebooks, and any other files in the ISPS Data Archive or created by employing files in the ISPS Data Archive in accord with the suggested citation included in metadata records.
  10. The ISPS Data Archive, at its sole discretion, may provide you with a password to access certain datasets, provided that you complete any required application process and provide accurate information in your application. You may use your password only to access the datasets in ways consistent with this agreement. You agree not to interfere with the work of other users or ISPS Data Archive personnel, servers, or resources. Further, you agree not to circulate your password to other people or organizations or to distribute any part of the datasets without written permission. Please report any unauthorized use of your password promptly to isps(at)yale(dot)edu.
You must agree to the terms of service before downloading the file.
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D001F10 Codebook (individuals) XML (1.1) .xml 21 KB

ISPS Data Archive -- Terms of Use

—Document Under Review—

**Please read carefully and click “Agree” if you agree to these terms.**

By using, contributing, and/or downloading files associated with scholarly studies for the purpose of replication (hereafter, Replication Files) and other digital content available on the ISPS Archive, you, the user, agree to the terms and conditions set forth herein. If you do not understand or agree to be bound by these Terms of Use, please promptly exit this site. When accessing the ISPS Archive you indicate that you agree to these terms.

ISPS reserves the right to modify the Terms of Use in its discretion at any time. Such modifications will be effective when posted.

By using the ISPS archive, you agree to the following:

  1. Digital content in the ISPS Data Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0, United States Public License, 2010, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States. For more information about this license see About the ISPS Data Archive.
  2. You will use ISPS Archive files solely for statistical analysis, including replication of published results.
  3. You will not use or download Replication Files in any way prohibited by applicable law.
  4. Should you wish to redistribute Replication Files or include them in a new data product or service, you must receive permission from ISPS.
  5. You will not use ISPS Replication Files to obtain information that could directly or indirectly identify subjects, produce links among ISPS Data Archive datasets or among the ISPS Data Archive datasets and other datasets for the purpose of obtaining information about subjects, or otherwise obtain information about subjects except where the use and/or release of such identifying information has no potential for constituting an unwarranted invasion of privacy and/or breach of confidentiality. Anything that can potentially breach participants’ confidentiality should be promptly reported to ISPS.
  6. ISPS makes no guarantee or warranty concerning the accuracy of information contained in the data or metadata including, but not limited to, loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any content uploaded, posted, emailed, shared and/or otherwise made available via the ISPS Data Archive.
  7. Although data files in the ISPS Data Archive may have been processed successfully on computers at Yale University, no warranty is made by ISPS or Yale University regarding the use of data on any other system, nor does the fact of distribution constitute or imply any such warranty.
  8. ISPS further makes no warranty, either expressed or implied, regarding the condition of the data or metadata, or its fitness for any particular purpose. The burden for determining fitness for use lies entirely with the user.
  9. You will reference the bibliographic citation accompanying the Replication Files, including any datasets, program files, output files, metadata records, treatment materials, codebooks, and any other files in the ISPS Data Archive or created by employing files in the ISPS Data Archive in accord with the suggested citation included in metadata records.
  10. The ISPS Data Archive, at its sole discretion, may provide you with a password to access certain datasets, provided that you complete any required application process and provide accurate information in your application. You may use your password only to access the datasets in ways consistent with this agreement. You agree not to interfere with the work of other users or ISPS Data Archive personnel, servers, or resources. Further, you agree not to circulate your password to other people or organizations or to distribute any part of the datasets without written permission. Please report any unauthorized use of your password promptly to isps(at)yale(dot)edu.
You must agree to the terms of service before downloading the file.
Download file
D001F11 Codebook (households) XML (1.1) .xml 12.5 KB

ISPS Data Archive -- Terms of Use

—Document Under Review—

**Please read carefully and click “Agree” if you agree to these terms.**

By using, contributing, and/or downloading files associated with scholarly studies for the purpose of replication (hereafter, Replication Files) and other digital content available on the ISPS Archive, you, the user, agree to the terms and conditions set forth herein. If you do not understand or agree to be bound by these Terms of Use, please promptly exit this site. When accessing the ISPS Archive you indicate that you agree to these terms.

ISPS reserves the right to modify the Terms of Use in its discretion at any time. Such modifications will be effective when posted.

By using the ISPS archive, you agree to the following:

  1. Digital content in the ISPS Data Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0, United States Public License, 2010, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States. For more information about this license see About the ISPS Data Archive.
  2. You will use ISPS Archive files solely for statistical analysis, including replication of published results.
  3. You will not use or download Replication Files in any way prohibited by applicable law.
  4. Should you wish to redistribute Replication Files or include them in a new data product or service, you must receive permission from ISPS.
  5. You will not use ISPS Replication Files to obtain information that could directly or indirectly identify subjects, produce links among ISPS Data Archive datasets or among the ISPS Data Archive datasets and other datasets for the purpose of obtaining information about subjects, or otherwise obtain information about subjects except where the use and/or release of such identifying information has no potential for constituting an unwarranted invasion of privacy and/or breach of confidentiality. Anything that can potentially breach participants’ confidentiality should be promptly reported to ISPS.
  6. ISPS makes no guarantee or warranty concerning the accuracy of information contained in the data or metadata including, but not limited to, loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any content uploaded, posted, emailed, shared and/or otherwise made available via the ISPS Data Archive.
  7. Although data files in the ISPS Data Archive may have been processed successfully on computers at Yale University, no warranty is made by ISPS or Yale University regarding the use of data on any other system, nor does the fact of distribution constitute or imply any such warranty.
  8. ISPS further makes no warranty, either expressed or implied, regarding the condition of the data or metadata, or its fitness for any particular purpose. The burden for determining fitness for use lies entirely with the user.
  9. You will reference the bibliographic citation accompanying the Replication Files, including any datasets, program files, output files, metadata records, treatment materials, codebooks, and any other files in the ISPS Data Archive or created by employing files in the ISPS Data Archive in accord with the suggested citation included in metadata records.
  10. The ISPS Data Archive, at its sole discretion, may provide you with a password to access certain datasets, provided that you complete any required application process and provide accurate information in your application. You may use your password only to access the datasets in ways consistent with this agreement. You agree not to interfere with the work of other users or ISPS Data Archive personnel, servers, or resources. Further, you agree not to circulate your password to other people or organizations or to distribute any part of the datasets without written permission. Please report any unauthorized use of your password promptly to isps(at)yale(dot)edu.
You must agree to the terms of service before downloading the file.
Download file
D001F12 Metadata record Adobe Acrobat (8.1) .pdf 219 KB

ISPS Data Archive -- Terms of Use

—Document Under Review—

**Please read carefully and click “Agree” if you agree to these terms.**

By using, contributing, and/or downloading files associated with scholarly studies for the purpose of replication (hereafter, Replication Files) and other digital content available on the ISPS Archive, you, the user, agree to the terms and conditions set forth herein. If you do not understand or agree to be bound by these Terms of Use, please promptly exit this site. When accessing the ISPS Archive you indicate that you agree to these terms.

ISPS reserves the right to modify the Terms of Use in its discretion at any time. Such modifications will be effective when posted.

By using the ISPS archive, you agree to the following:

  1. Digital content in the ISPS Data Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0, United States Public License, 2010, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States. For more information about this license see About the ISPS Data Archive.
  2. You will use ISPS Archive files solely for statistical analysis, including replication of published results.
  3. You will not use or download Replication Files in any way prohibited by applicable law.
  4. Should you wish to redistribute Replication Files or include them in a new data product or service, you must receive permission from ISPS.
  5. You will not use ISPS Replication Files to obtain information that could directly or indirectly identify subjects, produce links among ISPS Data Archive datasets or among the ISPS Data Archive datasets and other datasets for the purpose of obtaining information about subjects, or otherwise obtain information about subjects except where the use and/or release of such identifying information has no potential for constituting an unwarranted invasion of privacy and/or breach of confidentiality. Anything that can potentially breach participants’ confidentiality should be promptly reported to ISPS.
  6. ISPS makes no guarantee or warranty concerning the accuracy of information contained in the data or metadata including, but not limited to, loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any content uploaded, posted, emailed, shared and/or otherwise made available via the ISPS Data Archive.
  7. Although data files in the ISPS Data Archive may have been processed successfully on computers at Yale University, no warranty is made by ISPS or Yale University regarding the use of data on any other system, nor does the fact of distribution constitute or imply any such warranty.
  8. ISPS further makes no warranty, either expressed or implied, regarding the condition of the data or metadata, or its fitness for any particular purpose. The burden for determining fitness for use lies entirely with the user.
  9. You will reference the bibliographic citation accompanying the Replication Files, including any datasets, program files, output files, metadata records, treatment materials, codebooks, and any other files in the ISPS Data Archive or created by employing files in the ISPS Data Archive in accord with the suggested citation included in metadata records.
  10. The ISPS Data Archive, at its sole discretion, may provide you with a password to access certain datasets, provided that you complete any required application process and provide accurate information in your application. You may use your password only to access the datasets in ways consistent with this agreement. You agree not to interfere with the work of other users or ISPS Data Archive personnel, servers, or resources. Further, you agree not to circulate your password to other people or organizations or to distribute any part of the datasets without written permission. Please report any unauthorized use of your password promptly to isps(at)yale(dot)edu.
You must agree to the terms of service before downloading the file.
Download file