Mobilizing Opposition Voters Under Electoral Authoritarianism: A Field Experiment in Russia

31 Pages Posted: 4 Aug 2018 Last revised: 15 Jan 2019

See all articles by Leonid Peisakhin

Leonid Peisakhin

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi

Arturas Rozenas

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics

Sergey Sanovich

New York University (NYU), Department of Politics, Students

Date Written: Dec 15, 2018

Abstract

Under electoral authoritarianism, the opposition's victory at the polls often precipitates regime change. Yet, opposition parties persistently find it difficult to mobilize their supporters. In this study, we examine the effectiveness of information campaigns administered as part of a cluster randomized experiment by an opposition candidate in Russia's 2016 parliamentary election. In a Moscow electoral district, the campaign distributed 240,000 fliers to 75\% of the district's households. The treatments primed the closeness of the election in that district and, separately, sought to shame opposition supporters into voting. Outcomes were measured at precinct level. We find that the information campaigns failed to increase turnout or support for the candidate and her party. This finding casts doubt on the ability of opposition campaigns to mobilize voters via these widely used informational interventions in electoral autocracies.

Keywords: Turnout, Autocracy, GOTV, Mobilization

Suggested Citation

Peisakhin, Leonid and Rozenas, Arturas and Sanovich, Sergey, Mobilizing Opposition Voters Under Electoral Authoritarianism: A Field Experiment in Russia (Dec 15, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3214205 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3214205

Leonid Peisakhin

New York University (NYU) - New York University Abu Dhabi ( email )

PO Box 129188
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

Arturas Rozenas (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

19 West 4
New York, NY 10012
United States

Sergey Sanovich

New York University (NYU), Department of Politics, Students ( email )

New York, NY
United States

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