Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics

CeDEx 2017-16: Low-cost interventions to promote voter registration: what works and why?

Low cost interventions


We report two studies investigating whether, and if so how, different interventions affect voter registration rates. In a natural field experiment conducted before the 2015 UK General Election, we varied messages on a postcard sent by Oxford City Council to unregistered student voters encouraging them to register to vote. Relative to a baseline, emphasising negative monetary incentives (the possibility of being fined) significantly increased registration rates, while positive monetary incentives (chances of winning a lottery) had no significant effects.  In the second study, we show that the success of the negative monetary incentive intervention and failure of the positive monetary incentive intervention can be partly explained by social norms.

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Please note: this is a revised version of 2017-05


Felix Kölle, Tom Lane, Daniele Nosenzo, Chris Starmer


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Posted on Thursday 21st December 2017

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