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Political campaigns frequently emphasize the material stakes at play in election outcomes to motivate participation. However, field-experimental academic work has given greater attention to other aspects of voters' decisions to participate despite theoretical models of turnout and substantial observational work signaling that a contest's perceived importance affects the propensity to vote. We identify two classes of treatments that may increase the material incentive to participate and test these messages in a large-scale placebo-controlled field experiment in which approximately 24,500 treatment letters were delivered during Connecticut's 2013 municipal elections. We find some evidence that these messages are effective in increasing participation, as well as that some of them may be more effective than typical nonpartisan get-out-the-vote appeals. While these results remain somewhat preliminary, our findings have important implications for our understanding of how voters decide whether to participate and how best to mobilize citizens who would otherwise sit out elections.
Do small wording differences in message-based behavioral interventions have outsized effects on behavior? An influential initial study, examining this question in the domain of political behavior using two small-scale field experiments, argues that subtle linguistic cues in voter mobilization messages describing someone as a voter (noun) instead of one who votes (verb) dramatically increases turnout rates by activating a person's social identity as a voter. Two subsequent large-scale replication field experiments challenged this claim, finding no effect even in electorally competitive settings. However, these experiments may not have reproduced the psychological context needed to motivate behavioral change because they did not occur in highly competitive and highly salient electoral contexts. Addressing this major criticism, we conduct a large-scale, preregistered replication field experiment in the 2016 presidential election. We find no evidence that noun wording increases turnout compared to verb wording in this highly salient electoral context, even in competitive states.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the antimicrobial stewardship module in our electronic medical record was reconfigured for the management of COVID-19 patients. This change allowed our subspecialist providers to review charts quickly to optimize potential therapy and management during the patient surge.
In this age of global warming, the automotive industry is seeking to minimize the energy required to manufacture and operate its products without sacrificing performance and safety or increasing cost. Toward this end, whether cars and trucks are powered by internal-combustion engines or batteries, lowering vehicle weight is a major contributor to reducing energy consumption by increasing fuel efficiency. “The industry is driven by fuel efficiency,” said David Matlock of the Colorado School of Mines, who has helped develop advanced high-strength steels (AHSSs) used in autos.
Doubts about the integrity of ballot secrecy persist and depress political participation among the American public. Prior experiments have shown that official communications directly addressing these doubts increase turnout among recently registered voters who had not previously voted, but evaluations of similar messages sent by nongovernmental campaigns have yielded only suggestive effects. We build on past research and analyze two large-scale field experiments where a private nonpartisan nonprofit group sought to increase turnout by emphasizing ballot secrecy assurances alongside a reminder to vote in a direct mail voter mobilization campaign during the 2014 midterm election. Our main finding is that a private group’s mailing increases turnout by about 1 percentage point among recently registered nonvoters. This finding is precisely estimated and robust across state political contexts, but is not statistically distinguishable from the effect of a standard voter mobilization appeal. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.
There is a serious imbalance between the sclerosis of the political system of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the automatic adoption of WTO Appellate Body judicial reports. The question is whether the WTO Appellate Body will recognize bilateral political agreements (such as under Free Trade Agreements, FTAs) that modify WTO obligations between two parties. In addressing this question, the Appellate Body decision in Peru–Additional Duty on Imports of Certain Agricultural Products is important. The decision addressed the availability of defenses under FTAs in WTO disputes, as well as under public international law generally. After critically assessing the decision, we set forth a series of judicial and political choices for addressing the interaction of WTO and FTA rules going forward. In particular, we contend that clear modifications of WTO commitments under an FTA should be recognized by WTO panels as a defense, but subject to the FTA itself complying with WTO requirements under GATT Article XXIV. The case is important not only for trade specialists, but generally for policymakers and scholars of global governance in a world of fragmented international treaties.
Although evidence exists for abnormal brain function across various
anxiety disorders, direct comparison of neural function across diagnoses
is needed to elicit abnormalities common across disorders and those
distinct to a particular diagnosis.
To delineate common and distinct abnormalities within generalised anxiety
(GAD), panic and social anxiety disorder (SAD) during affective
Fifty-nine adults (15 with GAD, 15 with panic disorder, 14 with SAD, and
15 healthy controls) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging
while completing a facial emotion matching task with fearful, angry and
Greater differential right amygdala activation to matching fearful
v. happy facial expressions related to greater
negative affectivity (i.e. trait anxiety) and was heightened across all
anxiety disorder groups compared with controls. Collapsing across
emotional face types, participants with panic disorder uniquely displayed
greater posterior insula activation.
These preliminary results highlight a common neural basis for clinical
anxiety in these diagnoses and also suggest the presence of
This article measures the social rewards and sanctions associated with voting. A series of survey experiments shows that information about whether a person votes directly affects how favorably that person is viewed. Importantly, the study also compares the rewards and sanctions associated with voting to other activities, including the decisions to recycle, volunteer and return one’s library books on time. It presents a behavioral test of the consequences of non-voting and finds that individuals are willing to take costly action in a dictator game to reward political participation. Finally, it shows that survey measures of social norms about voting are correlated with county-level voter turnout. The study adds to the growing literature documenting the important influence of social concerns on turnout and other political choices.
What effect does moving to all-mail elections have on participation? On one hand, all registered voters automatically receive a ballot to return by mail at their convenience. On the other hand, the social aspect of the polling place, and the focal point of election day, is lost. Current estimates of the effect of all-mail elections on turnout are ambiguous. This article offers an improved design and new estimates of the effect of moving to all-mail elections. Exploiting cross-sectional and temporal variation in county-level implementation of all-mail elections in Washington State, we find that the reform increased aggregate participation by two to four percentage points. Using individual observations from the state voter file, we also find that the reform increased turnout more for lower-participating registrants than for frequent voters, suggesting that all-mail voting reduces turnout disparities between these groups.
Do people believe the votes they cast are truly secret? Novel items added to a nationally representative survey show that 25 per cent of respondents report not believing their ballot choices are kept secret and over 70 per cent report sharing their vote choices with others. These findings suggest that standard models of candidate choice should account for the potential effects of doubts about ballot secrecy. Consistent with this view, regression analysis shows that social forces appear to have a greater effect on vote choices among people who doubt the formal secrecy of the ballot. This analysis supports the broader claim that the intended benefits of institutional rules may not be realized if people's perceptions of these rules differ from their formal characteristics.
Partisanship is strongly correlated with attitudes and behavior, but it is unclear from this pattern whether partisan identity has a causal effect on political behavior and attitudes. We report the results of a field experiment that investigates the causal effect of party identification. Prior to the February 2008 Connecticut presidential primary, researchers sent a mailing to a random sample of unaffiliated registered voters who, in a pretreatment survey, leaned toward a political party. The mailing informed the subjects that only voters registered with a party were able to participate in the upcoming presidential primary. Subjects were surveyed again in June 2008. Comparing posttreatment survey responses to subjects’ baseline survey responses, we find that those reminded of the need to register with a party were more likely to identify with a party and showed stronger partisanship. Further, we find that the treatment group also demonstrated greater concordance than the control group between their pretreatment latent partisanship and their posttreatment reported voting behavior and intentions and evaluations of partisan figures. Thus, our treatment, which appears to have caused a strengthening of partisan identity, also appears to have caused a shift in subjects’ candidate preferences and evaluations of salient political figures. This finding is consistent with the claim that partisanship is an active force changing how citizens behave in and perceive the political world.