Abstract: Voter turnout is an important measure to assess civic engagement and the functioning of a representative democracy. Various sources indicate that the abstention rate in legislative, regional, and European elections continuously increases in France since the early 1980s. Although the turnout rate for presidential elections did not experience a significant decrease due to its saliency, it faces another problem, like any other type of election: the low turnout rate of young citizens (between 18 and 29 years old). This leads to an under-representation of the young population in political decision-making. This paper experimentally studies three low-cost behavioral interventions to increase youth turnout in the 2022 French presidential election. We implemented an incentive-compatible mechanism to reveal actual participation in the election of more than 3700 young people. The results indicate that none of our behavioral interventions significantly increased youth turnout. We discuss possible reasons and explore one specific mechanism with two additional experimental studies, one conducted during the June 2022 French legislative elections and the other one in February 2023.
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