Does the Media Matter? A Field Experiment Measuring the Effect of Newspapers on Voting Behavior and Political Opinions

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Gerber, Alan S., Dean Karlan, and Daniel Bergan

Research design: 
Data type: 
Administrative, surveys
Data source(s): 


Field date: 
June 1, 2005
Location details: 
Unit of observation: 
Sample size: 
3,347 (1,081 interviewed for follow-up survey)
We sampled individuals from two lists: a list of registered voters and a consumer database list. Roughly equal proportions were included in the sample from each list. We asked individuals if someone at the household received either the Post or the Times, and we excluded from the study those who said they received either newspaper. This perhaps is the most important issue to note regarding the formation of the sample frame. We are studying individuals who do not already subscribe to a newspaper. Only individuals who completed all questions in the initial phone survey were included in the experimental sample.
Randomization procedure: 
Individuals were randomly assigned to one of three groups: the Post, the Times, or a control group.
Treatment 1: 10-week free subscription for to Washington Post (and postcard announcement); Treatment 2: 10-week free subscription for to Washington Times (and postcard announcement); Control
Treatment administration: 
Newspaper delivery; Mailing
Outcome measures: 
Turnout rates in 2006 gubernatorial elections; Political knowledge; Political attitudes
Archive date: 
Gerber, Alan S., Dean Karlan, and Daniel Bergan
Owner contact: 


Terms of use: 

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Data file numbersort descending Description File format Size File url
D009F01 ReadMe file Adobe Acrobat (8.1) .pdf 56320 Download file
D009F02 Dataset Stata (10.0) .dta 1290 Download file
D009F03 Dataset Excel .csv 976896 Download file
D009F04 Program file Stata (10.0) .do 15360 Download file
D009F05 Program file R (2.9.1) .R 156672 Download file
D009F06 Log (Stata) .txt 590848 Download file
D009F07 Log (R) .txt 459776 Download file
D009F08 Output file (table A1) Stata (10.0) .out 1229 Download file
D009F09 Output file (table A1) R (2.9.1) .out 658 Download file
D009F10 Output file (table A2) Stata (10.0) .out 1669 Download file
D009F11 Output file (table A2) R (2.9.1) .out 5396 Download file
D009F12 Output file (table 2 panel A) Stata (10.0) .out 514 Download file
D009F13 Output file (table 2 panel A) R (2.9.1) .out 1556 Download file
D009F14 Output file (table 2 panel B) Stata (10.0) .out 371 Download file
D009F15 Output file (table 2 panel B) R (2.9.1) .out 1331 Download file
D009F16 Output file (table 3) Stata (10.0) .out 570 Download file
D009F17 Output file (table 3) R (2.9.1) .out 1536 Download file
D009F18 Output file (table 4) Stata (10.0) .out 792 Download file
D009F19 Output file (table 4) R (2.9.1) .out 2621 Download file
D009F20 Treatment materials Adobe Acrobat (8.1) .pdf 35840 Download file
D009F21 Study materials (Baseline survey) Adobe Acrobat (8.1) .pdf 87040 Download file
D009F22 Study materials (Followup survey) Adobe Acrobat (8.1) .pdf 88064 Download file
D009F23 Study materials (Newspaper headline data) Adobe Acrobat (8.1) .pdf 75776 Download file
D009F24 Codebook XML (1.1) .xml 1584128 Download file
D009F25 Metadata record Adobe Acrobat (8.1) .pdf 199680 Download file
D009F26 Study materials (variables) Adobe Acrobat (8.1) .pdf 145408 Download file