Dis - 4 mins
Encouraging Collective Action in Homeowners Associations
Can encouragement to join increase participation in local collective action, such as joining a homeowners association (HOA)? Can encouragement to vote influence participation in elections? Does participation in local collective action, such as a homeowners association increase participation in more general forms of collective action, such as voting? We address these questions using data from first field experiment of homeowners associations in Novosibirsk, Russia. Substantively, the results speak to three literatures: (a) On participation in collective action, by showing if encouragement messages administered in door-to-door intervention has effect on participation in such activities; and (b) On political mobilization, by showing if the results of GOTV experiments conducted in developed democratic countries can be reproduced in the setting, where democratic institutions are suppressed (c) On social capital, by showing if increase in participation in one type of collective action causes increase in participation in other types of collective action.
We present preliminary estimates of the direct effects of our main treatments (encouragement to participate in an HOA and encouragement to vote) and the indirect spillover effect of encouragement to participate in an HOA on voting behavior. Small and often insignificant estimated effects of HOA encouragement present an issue for this study.We show that besides low power of the experiment, this findings can be attributed to strategic response from special interests at the HOA level to our intervention. Methodologically, we explicitly deal with the non-trivial amount of attrition we observe at the endline measurement our study and exploit different strategies to address this issue.
- Local Collective Action:
- Information affects both accountability and provision of public goods (Besley and Burgess 2001; Burgess, Wilson, and Worth 2013)
- Grand Collective Action:
- Non-partisan door-to-door GOTV messages affects political participation (Nickerson 2008; Gerber, Green, and Larimer 2008)
- Interaction Between Types of Collective Action:
- Civic culture is related to both local and grand collective action (Ostrom 1990; Grossman 2011)
- Feasibility of panel experiments
- Non-democratic setting
- Capture and corruption
Why become more active in your Homeowners’ Association? Because it is YOUR Homeowners’ Association. Your HOA can make you and your apartment safer, increase the value of your property, and improve the services that you need. Recent research shows that the key to a successful HAO is the active participation of its members. The more active members, the better the HAO. So if you want to make your building safer, cleaner, and more valuable, join your HOA. If you have already joined, become more active. It is easy to become more active in your HOA, just contact your HOA representative at [HOA director’s phone number]. For more information about how HOAs can benefit you, see [HOA website address].
On the 13th of September there will be elections for regional legislature in Novosibirsk region. Your polling station is located at [Polling station address]. The right to vote is the privilege and duty of every citizen. By taking part in the elections, you not just affect the composition of the legislature, but also the policies related to housing and communal services, pensions, health, education and business regulation in the Novosibirsk region. Your vote can influence how comfortable will the life be in your region tomorrow.
Results (in short)
- First field experiment on collective action in Russia
- Endline attrition is high $\rightarrow$ low feasibility of the design
- Voting encouragement likely affects voting participation among pro-social and educated individuals
- HOA encouragement gives mixed results: Possibly, more troubled HOAs face a strategic response from HOA directors causing attrition among HOAs where encouragement had an effect
- Way Forward:
- Attempt to use all data collected in imputation process
- Use enumerator’s reports about the reasons for attrition at the endline (cannot reach vs. reject to participate)
- Besley, Timothy J, and Robin Burgess. 2001. “The Political Economy of Government Responsiveness: Theory and Evidence from India.” CEPR Discussion Paper.
- Burgess, Simon, Deborah Wilson, and Jack Worth. 2013. “A Natural Experiment in School Accountability: The Impact of School Performance Information on Pupil Progress.” Journal of Public Economics 106. Elsevier: 57–67.
- Gerber, Alan S, Donald P Green, and Christopher W Larimer. 2008. “Social Pressure and Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment.” American Political Science Review 102 (01). Cambridge Univ Press: 33–48.
- Grossman, Guy. 2011. “Essays on Leadership Selection and Public Goods Provision in Self-Help Organizations.” PhD thesis, Columbia University.
- Nickerson, David W. 2008. “Is Voting Contagious? Evidence from Two Field Experiments.” American Political Science Review 102 (01). Cambridge Univ Press: 49–57.
- Ostrom, Elinor. 1990. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge university press.