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Putting the Party Back into Politics: An Experiment Testing Whether Election Day Festivals Increase Voter Turnout
Last registered on August 14, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Putting the Party Back into Politics: An Experiment Testing Whether Election Day Festivals Increase Voter Turnout
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001459
Initial registration date
August 14, 2016
Last updated
August 14, 2016 8:47 PM EDT
Location(s)
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Columbia University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Tufts University
PI Affiliation
Yale University
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2005-01-01
End date
2006-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This essay describes a series of pilot studies designed to shed light on the question of whether the festive, social environment surrounding old-fashioned elections be recreated in ways that increase voter turnout. During 2005 and 2006, we conducted randomized experiments in local sites around the country. Results suggest that social gatherings address the collective action problem often attributed to elections as well as represent a potentially valuable voter mobilization tactic.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Addonizio, Elizabeth, James Glaser and Donald Green. 2016. "Putting the Party Back into Politics: An Experiment Testing Whether Election Day Festivals Increase Voter Turnout." AEA RCT Registry. August 14. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1459-1.0.
Former Citation
Addonizio, Elizabeth, James Glaser and Donald Green. 2016. "Putting the Party Back into Politics: An Experiment Testing Whether Election Day Festivals Increase Voter Turnout." AEA RCT Registry. August 14. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1459/history/10140.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Researchers chose 38 voting precincts with upcoming municipal, state or federal elections. Of the selected precincts, 16 were assigned to treatment and the rest to control. In treatment precincts, researchers supported community organizations to host non-partisan festivals outside of the polling center on Election Day. In the week leading up to the elections, the festivals were advertised through local newspapers, fliers, posters, lawn signs, and pre-recorded phone calls. All festivals were open to the public, family friendly, and featured music and free food. All festivals ran for about four hours in the afternoon. While advertisements described the events as election festivals, attendance was not contingent on voting.
Intervention Start Date
2005-01-01
Intervention End Date
2006-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Voter turnout
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Researchers selected 14 geographic areas across the United States with upcoming local, state, or federal elections in 2005 and 2006. These communities were not randomly selected, but they varied considerably in socioeconomic and ethnic makeup. The elections varied from uncontested municipal primaries to competitive congressional races. From these 14 locations, researchers selected 38 voting precincts with an active community organization able to advertise and organize a festival for Election Day. Researchers randomly assigned each precinct to either receive an election festival or to a control group where no festival occurred.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
In office by computer.
Randomization Unit
Voting precinct were assigned within blocks (sites)
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Study not clustered
Sample size: planned number of observations
38 voting precincts
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment: 16 voting precincts
Control: 22 voting precincts
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
December 31, 2006, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
December 31, 2006, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Study is not clustered
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
38 voting precincts
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Treatment: 16 voting precincts Control: 22 voting precincts
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers
Abstract
PUTTING THE PARTY BACK INTO POLITICS: AN EXPERIMENT TESTING WHETHER ELECTION DAY FESTIVALS INCREASE VOTER TURNOUT

Abstract: This essay describes a series of pilot studies designed to shed light on the question of whether the festive, social environment surrounding old-fashioned elections be recreated in ways that increase voter turnout. During 2005 and 2006, we conducted randomized experiments in 14 geographic areas. Results suggest that social gatherings address the collective action problem often attributed to elections as well as represent a potentially valuable voter mobilization tactic.
Citation
Addonizio, Elizabeth M., Donald P. Green, and James M. Glaser. 2007. "Putting the Party Back into Politics: An Experiment Testing Whether Election Day Festivals Increase Voter Turnout." Political Science Politics 40: 721-727.