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All in the Family: Partisan Disagreement and Electoral Mobilization in Intimate Networks - a Spillover Experiment


Foos, Florian; De Rooij, Eline A (2017). All in the Family: Partisan Disagreement and Electoral Mobilization in Intimate Networks - a Spillover Experiment. American Journal of Political Science, 61(2):253-256.

Abstract

We advance the debate about the impact of political disagreement in social networks on electoral participation by addressing issues of causal inference common in network studies, focusing on voters' most important context of interpersonal influence: the household. We leverage a randomly assigned spillover experiment conducted in the United Kingdom, combined with a detailed database of pretreatment party preferences and public turnout records, to identify social influence within heterogeneous and homogeneous partisan households. Our results show that intrahousehold mobilization effects are larger as a result of campaign contact in heterogeneous than in homogeneous partisan households, and larger still when the partisan intensity of the message is exogenously increased, suggesting discussion rather than behavioral contagion as a mechanism. Our results qualify findings from influential observational studies and suggest that within intimate social networks, negative correlations between political heterogeneity and electoral participation are unlikely to result from political disagreement.

Abstract

We advance the debate about the impact of political disagreement in social networks on electoral participation by addressing issues of causal inference common in network studies, focusing on voters' most important context of interpersonal influence: the household. We leverage a randomly assigned spillover experiment conducted in the United Kingdom, combined with a detailed database of pretreatment party preferences and public turnout records, to identify social influence within heterogeneous and homogeneous partisan households. Our results show that intrahousehold mobilization effects are larger as a result of campaign contact in heterogeneous than in homogeneous partisan households, and larger still when the partisan intensity of the message is exogenously increased, suggesting discussion rather than behavioral contagion as a mechanism. Our results qualify findings from influential observational studies and suggest that within intimate social networks, negative correlations between political heterogeneity and electoral participation are unlikely to result from political disagreement.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Language:English
Date:April 2017
Deposited On:13 Apr 2017 05:54
Last Modified:09 Dec 2017 00:41
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0092-5853
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12270
Official URL:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ajps.12270/pdf

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