Political Behavior

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 27–42 | Cite as

Call Your Legislator: A Field Experimental Study of the Impact of a Constituency Mobilization Campaign on Legislative Voting

  • Daniel E. Bergan
  • Richard T. Cole
Original Paper


Do campaigns encouraging constituents to contact their legislator influence public policy? We answer this question with a field experiment in which Michigan state legislators are randomly assigned to be contacted by their constituents about a specific bill or to a control group. The field experimental design allows us to produce internally and externally valid estimates of the effects on legislative voting of a campaign in which constituents are urged to contact their legislator. The estimated effect is substantial: being targeted by constituent contacts increases the probability of supporting the relevant legislation by about 12 percentage points. We discuss the normative and theoretical implications of these results.


Field experiment Legislative voting Citizen contacts 



The authors would like to thank David Broockman, Don Green, three anonymous reviewers, and participants in Michigan State University’s “Bowling for Scholars” seminar for helpful comments. The authors would also like to thank Michele Strasz and Deborah Riddick from the School-Community Health Alliance of Michigan for their assistance. The authors would also like to acknowledge Intramural Research Grants Program assistance from Michigan State University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CommunicationMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Department of Advertising, Public Relations & RetailingMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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