Imai, Kosuke and Aaron Strauss. (2011). ``Estimation of Heterogeneous Treatment Effects from Randomized Experiments, with Application to the Optimal Planning of the Get-out-the-vote Campaign.'' Political Analysis, Vol. 19, No. 1 (Winter), pp. 1-19. (lead article)



Political scientists have recently conducted hundreds of randomized field experiments to examine the effectiveness of various mobilization methods for increasing voter turnout. Given the high degree of internal and external validity, the empirical findings of these studies have a potential to significantly impact the practice of get-out-the-vote (GOTV) campaigns in the real world. In this paper, we offer an essential and yet missing methodological tool that allows GOTV campaign planners to best utilize the results of such field experiments. In particular, we show how to derive the optimal GOTV campaign strategy from field experiments. Our nonparametric method is applicable to partisan or nonpartisan campaigns as well as campaigns with multiple mobilization methods of the same or different costs. We evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed method using three existing field experiments. In multiple cases, we find that the resulting optimal campaign strategy is more than twice as cost-effective as a naive strategy.
This article has won the Political Analysis Editors' Choice Award
You may also be interested in Imai, Kosuke and Marc Ratkovic. ``Estimating Treatment Effect Heterogeneity in Randomized Program Evaluation.'' Annals of Applied Statistics, Forthcoming.

© Kosuke Imai
 Last modified: Mon Sep 3 23:00:19 EDT 2012