Advertising Effects in Presidential Elections

Posted: 13 Nov 2013

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper


Presidential elections provide both an important context in which to study advertising and a setting that mitigates the challenges of dynamics and endogeneity. We use the 2000 and 2004 general elections to analyze the effect of market-level advertising on county-level vote shares. The results indicate significant positive effects of advertising exposures. Both instrumental variables and fixed effects alter the ad coefficient. Advertising elasticities are smaller than are typical for branded goods yet significant enough to shift election outcomes. For example, if advertising were set to zero and all other factors held constant, three states' electoral votes would have changed parties in 2000. Given the narrow margin of victory in 2000, this shift would have resulted in a different president.

Keywords: advertising, politics, instrumental variables, presidential elections

Suggested Citation

Gordon, Brett R. and Hartmann, Wesley R., Advertising Effects in Presidential Elections. Marketing Science, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2013; pp. 19-35; DOI: 10.1287/mksc.1120.0745; Columbia Business School Research Paper No. 13-79; Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 13-10. Available at SSRN:

Brett R. Gordon (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Wesley R. Hartmann

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics