`` Estimating Neighborhood Effects on Turnout from Geocoded Voter Registration Records.''



Do voters turn out more or less frequently when surrounded by those like them? While decades of research examined the determinants of turnout, little is known about how the turnout of one voter is influenced by the characteristics of other voters around them. We geocode over 50 million voter registration records in California, Florida, and North Carolina and estimate the effects of racial and partisan composition of small residential neighborhoods at the census block level. Through cross-section and panel difference-in-differences estimation, we address the general identification problem of neighborhood research: voters in different neighborhoods cannot be directly compared because both voters' individual characteristics and those of their neighborhoods differ. We find that a 10 percentage point increase in the out-group neighborhood proportion yields an approximately 0.5 to 2.5 percentage point decrease in the turnout probability. These neighborhood effects persist in non-competitive districts, suggesting that mobilization alone cannot explain their existence. (Last Revised, January 2014)

© Kosuke Imai
 Last modified: Mon Sep 9 16:10:46 EDT 2013