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Political Science and Political Economy Research Seminar

Reaching Returning Voters through Social Ties

Ariel White (MIT), joint with Hannah Walker, Allison Harris, Jennifer Doleac

Tuesday 10 October 2023 14:00 - 15:30

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.

About this event

People with past criminal convictions register and vote at very low rates and are difficult to contact for mobilization efforts: they are residentially mobile, hard to find, and often skeptical of politics. In this study, we test a new approach to finding and contacting such hard-to-reach voters, asking whether people from their own lives might make better political messengers than strangers from civic organizations. We used administrative data to build a large mailing list of eligible but unregistered voters with past felony convictions in Texas. In a field experiment during the 2022 election season, we mailed out information about registration and voting. Some people were directly contacted with encouragement to register, while for other people we instead sent the registration materials to their already-registered household members with an encouragement to help people in their lives register; we test whether this household- connections approach can work as well as direct appeals to register and vote. Our study has practical use for civic-engagement efforts and also extends our understanding of how social connections and “relational organizing” can foster political engagement, particularly among otherwise-unlikely-to-participate groups.

The Political Science and Political Economy (PSPE) research group at the LSE brings together faculty and PhD students who do quantitative and/or formal research on political institutions, political behaviour, public policy, and political economy.

The PSPE Research Seminar provides a venue for researchers (mostly from outside of the LSE) to present their work.

These seminars are held on Tuesdays in term time at 14.00-15.30, both ONLINE AND IN PERSON in room SAL 3.05, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar coordinator: Mathilde Emeriau

Contact to be added to the mailing list and to recieve the zoom link.

For further information please contact Maddie Giles: