The sample for the study was composed of 250 villages–each with an average population of roughly 1,000 people–selected from ten districts spanning northern, northeastern, eastern, central, and western Afghanistan (southern areas were excluded due to security concerns). Half of the villages was randomly assigned to hold district elections and the other half to hold at-large elections. Under district elections, the village was split into geographically-defined districts and each villager could only vote for a single candidate residing in the same district.
In 2006, 10,000 pamphlets were distributed to households emphasizing that vote-buying is illegal.
(Figure 1, pg. F362)
Three different data sources were gathered and analyzed: a citizen survey with an embedded conjoint experiment, biographical information on real candidates in one Malawian district, and focus group discussions with real candidates for local office. The primary component of the research was a survey experiment of 604 citizens from Malawi’s Kasungu district. The survey, fielded in support with a local research firm, asked each respondent to evaluate six different hypothetical candidate profiles, resulting in 3,579 total profiles evaluated.
The authors recruited an online national sample (N=1,035) of Black and Latino respondents in May 2013. Respondents were then randomly assigned to read one of three version of a news article about charges of ethics violations against U.S. Congressman Charlie Rangel. In the control condition, respondents were given no information about Rangel’s racial background.
We conducted six Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) across five countries to answer this question. The types of information on incumbent behavior provided to voters include legislative performance (Benin), municipal spending irregularities (Brazil), quality of public services (Burkina Faso), municipal government malfeasance (Mexico), candidate quality via debates (Uganda 1), and budget irregularities (Uganda 2). A planned seventh study on incumbent criminality in India did not take place due to implementation challenges.
Brief 55: Candidate Participation in Electoral Debates--An Experimental Encouragement Design in Liberia
The partner NGO organized 129 standardized debates to elicit the policy promises of candidates for the House. The platforms were then rebroadcast by community radio stations. The debates were held across all 73 districts from mid-August to mid-September prior to the October 2017 elections for the House of Representatives. In order to induce variation in debate participation, the authors randomly varied the intensity of the invitations to all candidates in each district.
The study was conducted in 26 municipalities in the states of Guanajuato, México, San Luis Potosí, and Querétaro. The municipalities and states were chosen based on holding municipal elections in 2015, municipalities receiving ASF audit results in 2015, security and logistical considerations, and ensuring that incumbents from different parties were proportionately represented within these states.
The researchers embedded their experiments in large-scale, nationally representative surveys and randomly varied the information received by the respondents regarding the assessments and the identity of the election observers. Since Tunisia had election observers from a wide range of organizations, the researchers were able to realistically vary the identity of the election observer across the treatment groups by changing information regarding their organizational affiliation.
Information about candidates was provided in video recordings in which candidates answered questions about policy preferences, qualifications for office, personal characteristics, and relevant experiences. The videos were edited to give the appearance of a debate in which all candidates answered one question in turn before moving on to the next question.
The authors implement a field experiment to test whether politician performance information distributed to Ugandan citizens early in the electoral term improves their local politicians’ subsequent performance. The study takes place in 20 districts with around 400 local government politicians. The intensive dissemination intervention (“treatment condition”) involved distributing scorecard information – along with a range of general civic education information – directly to citizens at community-wide meetings.