Can Learning Constituency Opinion Affect How Legislators Vote? Results from a Field Experiment

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Suggested citation: 

Butler, Daniel M. and David W. Nickerson (2011) Replication Materials for: ‘Can Learning Constituency Opinion Affect How Legislators Vote? Results from a Field Experiment,’ . ISPS Data Archive.


David W. Nickerson, Daniel Butler

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


Data source information: 


Field date: 
August 10, 2008
Field Date: 
2008-08-10 - 2008-08-19
Location details: 
United States - NM
Unit of observation: 
Sample size: 
State legislators in New Mexico State House: The reason for not using both chambers is that any information given to someone in one chamber could potentially be used to inform the legislator in the other chamber who had an overlapping district. The House as opposed to the Senate was selected because the House is larger with 70 members as compared to only 42 in the state Senate.
Randomization procedure: 
We first matched legislators into pairs with the individual who looked most similar to them along the following dimensions: party of the legislator, the results of our survey for their district, whether they were up for re-election, and the 2004 vote share for George Bush in the district. We then randomized within each of the 35 matched pairs to determine which of the two would receive the treatment and which would be part of the control group.
A letter was sent to the legislators in the treatment group with information about their constituents’ opinions about about the governor’s spending proposal regarding road projects and tax rebates. The letters were delivered in the morning on the day the special session began, Friday, August 15. In addition to using delivery confirmation, we confirmed with New Mexico’s Legislative Council Service that the letters had been delivered that morning. We also emailed all of the legislators in the treatment group, using one of the author’s university account, in order to tell them that they would be receiving the letter. The emails also included the full text of the letter.
Treatment administration: 
Outcome measures: 
Legislators' vote
Archive date: 
Data file numbersort descending Description File format Size File url
D068F01 Dataset Stata (11.2) .dta 12288 Download file
D068F02 Dataset .csv 19456 Download file
D068F04 Dataset Stata (11.2) .dta 3072 Download file
D068F05 Dataset .csv 6144 Download file
D068F07 Program File Stata (11.2) .do 6144 Download file
D068F08 Program File Stata (11.2) .do 1024 Download file
D068F09 Program File R 9260 Download file
D068F11 Metadata (DDI 3.2) .xml 191494 Download file