Do campaigns encouraging constituents to contact their legislator influence public policy? We answer this question with a field experiment in which Michigan state legislators are randomly assigned to be contacted by their constituents about a specific bill or to a control group. The field experimental design allows us to produce internally and externally valid estimates of the effects on legislative voting of a campaign in which constituents are urged to contact their legislator. The estimated effect is substantial: being targeted by constituent contacts increases the probability of supporting the relevant legislation by about 12 percentage points. We discuss the normative and theoretical implications of these results.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2014
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