Persuasion and Gender: Experimental Evidence from Two Political Campaigns

88 Pages Posted: 11 May 2016

See all articles by Vincenzo Galasso

Vincenzo Galasso

University of Lugano; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Tommaso Nannicini

Bocconi University - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 27, 2016

Abstract

This paper investigates the differential response of male and female voters to competitive persuasion in political campaigns. We implemented a survey experiment during the (mixed gender) electoral race for mayor in Milan (2011), and a field experiment during the (same gender) electoral race for mayor in Cava de’ Tirreni (2015). In both cases, a sample of eligible voters was randomly divided into three groups. Two were exposed to either a positive or a negative campaign by one of the opponents. The third — control — group received no electoral information. In Milan, the campaigns were administered online and consisted of a bundle of advertising tools (videos, texts, slogans). In Cava de’ Tirreni, we implemented a large scale door-to-door campaign in collaboration with one of the candidates, randomizing positive vs. negative messages. In both experiments, stark gender differences emerge. Females vote more for the opponent and less for the incumbent when they are exposed to the opponent’s positive campaign. Exactly the opposite occurs for males. These gender differences cannot be accounted for by gender identification with the candidate, ideology, or other observable attributes of the voters.

Keywords: gender differences, political campaigns, randomized controlled trials, competitive persuasion

JEL Classification: D720, J160, M370

Suggested Citation

Galasso, Vincenzo and Nannicini, Tommaso, Persuasion and Gender: Experimental Evidence from Two Political Campaigns (April 27, 2016). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 5868. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2778467

Vincenzo Galasso (Contact Author)

University of Lugano ( email )

Via Giuseppe Buffi 13
Lugano, 6900
Switzerland

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Tommaso Nannicini

Bocconi University - Department of Economics ( email )

Via Gobbi 5
Milan, 20136
Italy

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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