Do Interactions with Candidates Increase Voter Support and Participation? Experimental Evidence from Italy

66 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2020 Last revised: 17 Jun 2022

See all articles by Enrico Cantoni

Enrico Cantoni

University of Bologna - Department of Economics

Vincent Pons

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Date Written: June 2020

Abstract

We test whether politicians can use direct contact to reconnect with citizens, increase turnout, and win votes. During the 2014 Italian municipal elections, we randomly assigned 26,000 voters to receive visits from city council candidates, canvassers supporting the candidates' list, or to a control group. While canvassers’ visits increased turnout by 1.8 percentage points, candidates’ had no impact on participation. Candidates increased their own vote share in the precincts they canvassed, but only at the expense of other candidates on the list. This suggests that their failure to mobilize nonvoters resulted from focusing on securing the preferences of active voters.

Suggested Citation

Cantoni, Enrico and Pons, Vincent, Do Interactions with Candidates Increase Voter Support and Participation? Experimental Evidence from Italy (June 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27433, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3637734

Enrico Cantoni (Contact Author)

University of Bologna - Department of Economics ( email )

Bologna
Italy

Vincent Pons

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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