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An experiment about ways to encourage voting in primary elections. During the 2006 primary election in Michigan, registered voters were randomly assigned to different treatments, each in the form of a postcard mailed to them before the primary. The most high-pressure message("Neighbors") listed the voters neighbors and whether they voted in the previous primary elections. The card promised to send out the same information after the 2006 primary, so that "you and your neighbors will all know who voted and who did not." (From the Gerber et al. reference, below.) In another treatment, "Civic Duty," the postcard said, "On August 8, remember your rights and responsibilities as a citizen. Remember to vote. DO YOUR CIVIC DUTY---VOTE!" Yet another treatment, "Hawthorne" simply told the voter that "YOU ARE BEING STUDIED!" as part of research on why people do or do not vote. There was also a control group that did not receive a postcard.




A data frame with 305866 rows and 6 variables:

  • sex of the voter (female or male)

  • yearofbirth: year of birth of the voter

  • primary2004: whether the voter voted in the 2004 primary election (voted, abstained)

  • messages: Get-out-the-vote message the voter received (Civic Duty, Control, Neighbors, Hawthorne)

  • primary2006: whether the voter turned out in the 2006 primary election (voted, abstained)

  • hhsize: household size of the voter


  • Imai, Kosuke. 2017. Quantitative Social Science: An Introduction. Princeton University Press. URL.

  • Alan S. Gerber, Donald P. Green, and Christopher W. Larimer (2008) “Social pressure and voter turnout: Evidence from a large-scale field experiment.” American Political Science Review, vol. 102, no. 1, pp. 33–48. doi: 10.1017/S000305540808009X