Field Experiments on Citizen Participation in Elections and Referenda

Research question/goal: 

Getting citizens to participate in elections and referenda is at the heart of democracies. With declining turnout rates across Europe, this seems to become ever more important. Yet very little is known about the short-term chances of mobilizing voters to turn out in Europe. One of the reasons for this research gap is methodological: with traditional survey research, it is very difficult to assess the short-term effects of campaign mobilization. In contrast, field experiments allow a precise test of the effects of various campaign stimuli. Building on recent advances of field experiments in the USA and the UK, this projects aims to implement large-scale “get-out-the-vote”-field experiments in the multi-party context of Germany and thereby provide a comparative perspective on mobilization. Experiments will be conducted on both general elections at the state level and issue-specific referenda at the local level and will include different stimuli, such as inducing social pressure on citizens to participate or informing and educating citizens about the particular election or referendum.

Current stage: 

After having completed the panel study in 2017, we complemented our data collection with aggregate-level data and qualitative interviews. The qualitative interviews were conducted in the context of six different focus groups with respondents from the original study. Moreover, a series of publications was prepared.

Fact sheet

Baden-Württemberg Stiftung
2015 to 2019
Data Sources: 
field experimental data, official voting statistics, survey data
Geographic Space: