Identifying the Effect of Mobilization on Voter Turnout through a Natural Experiment

Electoral Studies, Vol. 44, pp. 192-202, December 2016

42 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2016 Last revised: 12 May 2017

See all articles by Kentaro Fukumoto

Kentaro Fukumoto

Gakushuin University

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Date Written: May 5, 2016

Abstract

Although numerous get-out-the-vote field experiments have identified the effects of particular mobilization tactics (e.g., canvassing, phone calls, direct mails) on voter turnout, we do not yet have a full understanding of the causal effect of overall mobilization. We study this by leveraging a natural experiment in Japan, in which the timing of a municipal election is as-if randomly assigned. The results show that almost concurrently held municipal elections boost these municipalities’ voter turnout in prefectural elections by one to two percentage points. We argue that some unique settings in Japan allow us not only to mitigate omitted variable bias but also to attribute the estimated effect only to mobilization, rather than the effects of cost sharing and psychological stimulus.

Keywords: turnout, mobilization, natural experiment, bundling treatments, Japan

JEL Classification: C90, D72

Suggested Citation

Fukumoto, Kentaro and Horiuchi, Yusaku, Identifying the Effect of Mobilization on Voter Turnout through a Natural Experiment (May 5, 2016). Electoral Studies, Vol. 44, pp. 192-202, December 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2586826 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2586826

Kentaro Fukumoto

Gakushuin University ( email )

1-5-1 Mejiro
Toshima-ku Tokyo 171-8588
Japan

HOME PAGE: http://www-cc.gakushuin.ac.jp/~e982440/index_e.htm

Yusaku Horiuchi (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

204 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.dartmouth.edu/horiuchi/

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