The mayoral email archive is a novel dataset that includes non-private emails archived from the inboxes and sent boxes of mayors between January 1, 2018, and March 31, 2018. I collected these emails via a series of open records requests sent out in the summer of 2018. The open records requests were initially apart of a project on social pressure and mayoral responsiveness that was published in the Journal of Experimental Political Science in 2021.

I am currently downloading, parsing, and cleaning the email records. After the cleaning process is complete, I will incorporate the emails into my research agenda on local governance.

Research Associated With Mayoral Emails

This paper examines the extent to which social pressures can foster greater responsiveness among public officials. I conduct a non-deceptive field experiment on 1400 city executives across all 50 states and measure their level of responsiveness to open records requests. I use two messages to prime social pressure. The first treatment centers on the norm and duty to be responsive to the public’s request for transparency. The second treatment is grounded in the peer effect literature, which suggests that individuals change their behavior in the face of potential social sanctioning and accountability. I find no evidence that mayors are affected by priming the officials’ duty to the public. The mayors who received the peer effects prime were 6–8 percentage points less likely to respond, which suggests a “backfire effect.” This paper contributes to the growing responsiveness literature on the local level and the potential detrimental impact of priming peer effects.

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  • “Mayors and Internal Policy Priorities: Exploring the Blackbox of Internal Policymaking Through Email Communication” (Work in Progress)