Home » Uncategorized » Can Governments Use Get Out The Vote Letters to Solve Europe’s Turnout Crisis? Evidence from a Field Experiment

Can Governments Use Get Out The Vote Letters to Solve Europe’s Turnout Crisis? Evidence from a Field Experiment

Declining levels of turnout are a problem in European elections. Are Get Out The Vote campaigns the solution to the problem? While many studies have investigated such campaigns in the US, we know little about their effect in Europe. We present a field experiment in which encouragements to vote in an upcoming Danish election are delivered using direct personal letters to more than 60,000 first-time voters. Eight different letters are designed based on the calculus of voting and prospect theory. The sample is randomly divided into treatment groups or the control group. Using validated turnout, we find small positive effects of receiving a letter on turnout, with little difference across letters. The letters mostly mobilized voters with a low propensity to vote and thus increased equality in participation. In sum, while letters have some effect, they are not likely to be a panacea for solving Europe’s turnout challenges.


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