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.
In July 2011, emails were successfully sent to 1,229 black and white politicians from four South African provinces. Employing email as the method of communication was meant to control socioeconomic bias. Between group inequality is high in South Africa and unless given other indications, a councillor might assume a black constituent is poorer or less well educated than a white constituent. Having access to email and using grammatically correct English signified that constituents, regardless of race, were socioeconomically similar.