NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Enrico Cantoni

University of Bologna
Department of Economics
Piazza Scaravilli 2, Bologna
Italy

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Bologna

NBER Working Papers and Publications

June 2020Do Interactions with Candidates Increase Voter Support and Participation? Experimental Evidence from Italy
with Vincent Pons: w27433
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.
February 2019Strict ID Laws Don’t Stop Voters: Evidence from a U.S. Nationwide Panel, 2008–2018
with Vincent Pons: w25522
U.S. states increasingly require identification to vote – an ostensive attempt to deter fraud that prompts complaints of selective disenfranchisement. Using a difference-in-differences design on a 1.6-billion-observations panel dataset, 2008–2018, we find that the laws have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation. These results hold through a large number of specifications and cannot be attributed to voters’ reaction against the laws, measured by campaign contributions and self-reported political engagement. However, the likelihood that non-white voters were contacted by a campaign increases by 5.4 percentage points, suggesting that parties’ mobilization might have offset modest effects of the laws on the pa...
 
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