Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/215057
Authors: 
Galasso, Vincenzo
Nannicini, Tommaso
Nunnari, Salvatore
Year of Publication: 
2020
Series/Report no.: 
CESifo Working Paper No. 8055
Abstract: 
Negative advertising is frequent in electoral campaigns, despite its ambiguous effectiveness: negativity may reduce voters' evaluation of the targeted politician but have a backlash effect for the attacker. We study the effect of negative advertising in electoral races with more than two candidates with a large scale field experiment during an electoral campaign for mayor in Italy and a survey experiment in a fictitious mayoral campaign. In our field experiment, we find a strong, positive spillover effect on the third main candidate (neither the target nor the attacker). This effect is confirmed in our survey experiment, which creates a controlled environment with no ideological components nor strategic voting. The negative ad has no impact on the targeted incumbent, has a sizable backlash effect on the attacker, and largely benefits the idle candidate. The attacker is perceived as less cooperative, less likely to lead a successful government, and more ideologically extreme.
Subjects: 
electoral campaign
political advertisement
randomized controlled trial
field experiment
survey experiment
JEL: 
D72
C90
M37
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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