Steven Sprick Schuster

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    “Delivering the Vote: The Political Effect of Free Mail Delivery in Early Twentieth Century America" (with Elisabeth Perlman) (Job Market Paper)
This paper examines the effect of Rural Free Delivery (RFD) on the behavior of voters and elected officials. Using a panel dataset covering the years surrounding the roll-out of RFD, and a set of instrumental variables to address the endogenous allocation of routes, we find that communities receiving more routes turn out to vote more frequently, spread their votes more widely in Congressional elections, and vote for smaller parties. We find that several of our results are primarily driven by counties in which daily newspapers are located, supporting the hypothesis that the effects we observe are the result of information flows. Additionally, we find evidence of political shifts in elected officials, with representatives voting more in line with rural communities.

   “Duverger’s Law and Strategic Voting: an Empirical Test Using Florida’s Elimination of Primary Runoff Elections”
This paper provides evidence from an empirical test of Duverger's Law and strategic voting, utilizing the 2001 decision by the state of Florida to eliminate runoffs in primary elections. Using a differences-in-differences specification, I find that while changes in voting behavior in Florida are consistent with predictions of Duverger's Law and models of strategic voting, the measured effects are much smaller than findings in other settings. I provide evidence that this may be due to low voter turnout in the United States, which may lead to strategic voting in the first round of runoff elections.

    “The Effect of Teacher Strike Ability on Labor Market Outcomes”

Works in Progress

    “What We Talk About When We Talk About Campaign Spending”
While research on the effect of candidate spending on voting outcomes has been extensive, researchers have been forced to rely on cross-election analysis, often requiring strong identifying assumptions. Additionally, previous research has been unable to disentangle the effect of candidate spending on voter preferences and voter participation. Utilizing the depth of the 2012 American National Election Survey, a time series survey which asked about voter intent before the election and actual voting behavior after the election, and Congressional and Senatorial candidate disbursement data which allows the researcher to track candidate spending throughout the campaign, I am to determine the effect of candidate spending on individual voting behavior, by measuring the effect of spending both on voter preferences, and on voter participation. I find that while overall spending is found to have little effect on voter behavior, spending on campaign messaging has a stronger effect that found in previous research, particularly in House of Representative elections.


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