Evaluating the Effectiveness of Campaign Speeches: Evidence from the First National Speaking Tour

Johannes Buggle, Stephanos Vlachos

This paper examines the effect of campaign visits in the context of the unique onesided nationwide speaking tour by a US Presidential candidate. During the 1896 election, the Democratic candidate went on a whistle stop train tour, while the Republican followed a frontporch campaign. To identify the causal effect of campaign speeches, we exploit several estimation strategies, including a within-county difference-in-differences design and a neighbor-pair fixed effect estimator. We find that one speech given by the Democratic candidate increased his vote share by about one percentage point on average. This increase stems from the persuasion of previously non-aligned industrial workers.

Department of Economics
External organisation(s)
Université de Lausanne
No. of pages
Publication date
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
502027 Political economy
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