The Effect of Randomized School Admissions on Voter Participation

40 Pages Posted: 22 Dec 2006 Last revised: 31 Jul 2009

See all articles by Justine S. Hastings

Justine S. Hastings

Brown University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Thomas J. Kane

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Public Policy & Social Research; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Douglas Staiger

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jeffrey Weinstein

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Date Written: November 2005

Abstract

There is little causal evidence on the effect of economic and policy outcomes on voting behavior. This paper uses randomized outcomes from a school choice lottery to examine if lottery outcomes affect voting behavior in a school board election. We show that losing the lottery has no significant impact on overall voting behavior; however, among white families, those with above median income and prior voting history, lottery losers were significantly more likely to vote than lottery winners. Using propensity score methods, we compare the voting of lottery participants to similar families who did not participate in the lottery. We find that losing the school choice lottery caused an increase in voter turnout among whites, while winning the lottery had no effect relative to non-participants. Overall, our empirical results lend support to models of expressive and retrospective voting, where likely voters are motivated to vote by past negative policy outcomes.

Suggested Citation

Hastings, Justine and Kane, Thomas J. and Staiger, Douglas and Weinstein, Jeffrey, The Effect of Randomized School Admissions on Voter Participation (November 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11794. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=851703

Justine Hastings (Contact Author)

Brown University ( email )

Box 1860
Providence, RI 02912
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Thomas J. Kane

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Public Policy & Social Research ( email )

Box 951656
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Douglas Staiger

Dartmouth College - Department of Economics ( email )

Hanover, NH 03755
United States
603-643-2979 (Phone)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jeffrey Weinstein

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ( email )

550 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20429
United States

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