Allison Harris Receives Grant to Study Voter Registration

June 11, 2020

Professor Allison Harris has recently received a grant from The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) to fund her study of the effect of providing information about voting eligibility and registration to returning citizens (those who were previously imprisoned) on voter registration and turnout among this group.

Harris is an assistant professor of political science who studies American politics with a focus on judicial politics, criminal justice, state and local politics, and inequality.

For the project, “Registering Returning Citizens to Vote,” Harris and co-authors will conduct a series of randomized field experiments to learn how best to encourage returning citizens to register to vote. They expect to reach out to a total sample size of 161,000 people with the goal of measuring interest in voter registration and turnout for the November 2020 election.

Harris and her co-authors for the study – Jennifer Doleac (Texas A&M), Laurel Eckhouse (University of Denver), Eric Foster-Moore (Alloy), Hannah Walker (Rutgers University), and Ariel White (MIT) – have been awarded $174,636 from J-PAL for this project. This award builds on a pilot study also funded by JPAL in 2019, “Re-entering Citizens to Vote,“ which tested various methods for registering previously-convicted or formerly-incarcerated people to vote.

J-PAL was founded in 2003 at MIT by professors Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Sendhil Mullainathan with the goal of transforming how the world approaches the challenges of global poverty. J-PAL is a global research center working to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence.

Area of study 
Criminal Justice