HKS Authors

See citation below for complete author information.


A large-scale experiment assessed the turnout effects of the “Neighbors” mailer, which exerts social pressure to vote by disclosing the past turnout records of recipients and their neighbors. A prior large-scale experiment conducted in a low salience election found that this mailer increased turnout substantially. The experiment reported here gauges the effects of this mailer in the context of a hotly contested recall election. We find smaller but still sizable effects, especially for low-propensity voters. Turnout increases significantly in the presidential election several months later, and the immediate and downstream effects are similar regardless of whether the mailer is worded in partisan or nonpartisan terms. Using data furnished by the Obama campaign and several nonpartisan organizations, we find little evidence that receiving the Neighbors mailer caused people to become the targets of subsequent mobilizing activity, suggesting that the downstream effects of social pressure cannot be attributed to subsequent campaign contacts.


Rogers, Todd, Donald P. Green, John Ternovski, and Carolina Ferrerosa Young. "Social Pressure and Voting: A Field Experiment Conducted in a High-Salience Election." Electoral Studies 46 (April 2017): 87-100.