Candy Elasticity: Halloween Experiments on Public Political Statements

5 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2015

See all articles by Julian C. Jamison

Julian C. Jamison

University of Exeter Business School - Department of Economics; World Bank eMBeD (Mind, Behavior, and Development); Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); Innovations for Poverty Action

Dean S. Karlan

Yale University; Innovations for Poverty Action; Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: January 2016

Abstract

We conducted experiments during trick‐or‐treating on Halloween in a predominantly liberal neighborhood in the weeks preceding the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. We decorated one side of a house porch with McCain material in 2008 (Romney material in 2012) and the other side with Obama material. Children were asked to choose a side, with half receiving the same candy on either side and half receiving more candy to go to the McCain/Romney side. This yields a “candy elasticity” of children's political support. Results vary by age: children ages nine and older were two to three times more likely to choose the Republican candidate when offered double candy for voting Republican compared to when offered equal candy, whereas children ages eight and under were particularly sticky and did not waver in their choice of candidate despite the offer of double candy.

JEL Classification: C93, D72, D12

Suggested Citation

Jamison, Julian C. and Karlan, Dean S., Candy Elasticity: Halloween Experiments on Public Political Statements (January 2016). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 54, Issue 1, pp. 543-547, 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2695901 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecin.12233

Julian C. Jamison (Contact Author)

University of Exeter Business School - Department of Economics ( email )

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

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Innovations for Poverty Action ( email )

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Dean S. Karlan

Yale University ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, CT 06520-8269
United States

Innovations for Poverty Action ( email )

1731 Connecticut Ave, 4th floor
New Haven, CT 20009
United States

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) ( email )

E60-246
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

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United Kingdom

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