HKS Authors

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Partisan gerrymandering and polarization have created an electoral landscape where Americans increasingly reside in congressional districts dominated by one party. Are individuals more likely to vote when their partisanship aligns with the partisan composition of the district? Leveraging nationwide voter file data and the redistricting process, we present causal evidence on this question via a longitudinal analysis of individual-level political participation. Tracking turnout before and after a redistricting cycle, where the boundaries of congressional districts change, we observe what happens when registrants experience a shock to the partisan composition of their district. We find turnout increases for individuals assigned to districts aligned with their partisanship as compared to individuals in misaligned districts, consistent with voters deriving expressive benefits from voting for the winning party. By demonstrating how districting influences political participation, our findings suggest a new implication of partisan gerrymandering that may clash with other democratic goals.


Fraga, Bernard L., and Daniel J. Moskowitz, and Benjamin Schneer. "Partisan Alignment Increases Voter Turnout: Evidence from Redistricting." Political Behavior (February 2021).