Department of Political Science
University of Pennsylvania
208 S. 37th Street, Room 217
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6215
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|July 2008||The Persuasive Effects of Direct Mail: A Regression Discontinuity Approach|
with Alan Gerber, Daniel Kessler: w14206
During the contest for Kansas attorney general in 2006, an organization sent out 6 pieces of mail criticizing the incumbent's conduct in office. We exploit a discontinuity in the rule used to select which households received the mailings to identify the causal effect of mail on vote choice and voter turnout. We find these mailings had both a statistically and politically significant effect on the challenger's vote share. Our estimates suggest that a ten percentage point increase in the amount of mail sent to a precinct increased the challenger's vote share by approximately three percentage points. Furthermore, our results suggest that the mechanism for this increase was persuasion rather than mobilization.
Published: Alan S. Gerber & Daniel P. Kessler & Marc Meredith, 2011. "The Persuasive Effects of Direct Mail: A Regression Discontinuity Based Approach," The Journal of Politics, vol 73(1), pages 140-155.