Leveling the Playing Field: How Campaign Advertising Can Help Non-Dominant Parties

80 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2016

See all articles by Horacio Larreguy Arbesu

Horacio Larreguy Arbesu

Harvard University

John Marshall

Columbia University - Department of Political Science

James M. Snyder

Harvard University

Date Written: December 2016

Abstract

Voters are often uncertain about and biased against non-dominant political parties. By reducing the information gap with dominant parties, political advertising may thus disproportionately benefit non-dominant parties electorally. We test this argument in Mexico, where three main parties dominate many localities. To identify the effects of exposure to partisan advertising, we exploit differences across neighboring precincts in campaign ad distributions arising from cross-state media coverage spillovers induced by a 2007 reform that equalized access to ad slots across all broadcast media. Our results show that ads on AM radio increase the vote shares of the PAN and PRD, but not the previously-hegemonic PRI. Consistent with our model, campaign advertising is most effective in poorly informed and politically uncompetitive electoral precincts, and against locally dominant parties of intermediate strength.

Suggested Citation

Larreguy Arbesu, Horacio and Marshall, John and Snyder, James M., Leveling the Playing Field: How Campaign Advertising Can Help Non-Dominant Parties (December 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22949, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2887231

Horacio Larreguy Arbesu (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

John Marshall

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

7th Floor, International Affairs Bldg.
420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

James M. Snyder

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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