Field Experiment by CSAP Research Team Shows Voting Does Not Prevent Crime

person putting a ballot into a voting box
November 3, 2017

A new study recently published in the journal Political Behavior indicates that political engagement, such as voting, does not directly translate into reduced rates of criminality.  As the Yale News points out, this “study represents the first large-scale field experiment to examine whether political participation reduces involvement in the criminal justice system. The researchers analyzed a randomized controlled trial involving about 550,000 non-white young adults aged 18 to 20 during the 2010 U.S. election cycle.” Their results call into question previous theories claiming that political engagement fosters good citizenship and makes people more likely to obey the law.  Read the full news article here.

The publication is titled “Can Political Participation Prevent Crime? Results from a Field Experiment About Citizenship, Participation, and Criminality.”  Authors include Alan Gerber, Dilley Professor of Political Science, CSAP Director, and Dean for the Social Sciences Division; Gregory Huber, Professor of Political Science and CSAP Associate Director; Daniel Biggers, former CSAP postdoctoral associate now Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California-Riverside; and David Hendry, former CSAP postdoctoral associate now Assistant Professor of Methodology at the London School of Economics and Political Science.