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23-02-2021 | Original Paper

Promoting the Youth Vote: The Role of Informational Cues and Social Pressure

Journal:
Political Behavior
Authors:
Daniel E. Bergan, Dustin Carnahan, Nazita Lajevardi, Mel Medeiros, Sarah Reckhow, Kjerstin Thorson
Important notes

Supplementary Information

The online version contains supplementary material available at https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s11109-021-09686-x.
The data and replication code are publicly available https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/8KQHYP. The authors are grateful for insightful feedback provided by the anonymous reviewers. A special thanks is extended to Suchitra Webster, Renee Brown, Catalist, participants at the 2019 APSA conference, and the entire team of MSUvote.

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Abstract

Young voters, including college students, turnout less than older citizens—particularly in non-presidential elections. We examine two promising intervention strategies in the 2018 midterm elections: information cues and social pressure. Additionally, we consider whether voting information and social pressure to vote spread to others through social ties. Using a large-scale field experiment involving sections of a university-wide first-year writing seminar, we examine whether informational and social pressure presentations are effective strategies for increasing college student voter turnout. Furthermore, by linking each student in our study to their roommates, we assess whether there were spillover effects from the interventions. Though the treatments did not alone affect turnout, we find positive effects from classroom treatments among first-year students who were registered to vote prior to the presentations. Additionally, we find positive peer spillover effects for turnout from the social pressure treatment when the roommate of the treated student was previously registered to vote.

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