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)
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.
The authors conducted a field experiment in Pernambuco, Brazil, to test whether voters punish politicians that are accused of malfeasance. The authors randomly sampled 3,200 voters two weeks prior to the 2016 municipal elections. A segment of respondents were randomly assigned to receive fliers with information about whether the incumbent mayor was in compliance with government laws and regulations. Other respondents received no information at all.
To understand how access to information influences ethnic voting, the authors implemented a field experiment during the 2015 National Assembly elections in Benin. Voters have poor information on these legislative races, and also vary in their shared ethnicity with the incumbent in their constituency. These factors allowed the authors to provide information to voters to examine how they updated their beliefs about the candidate, conditional on their shared ethnicity with the incumbent.
To test the ways in which politicians influence public opinion, the authors conduct two studies. The structures of the two studies are nearly identical. The authors partner with state legislators in a Midwestern state and identify contentious policy positions that they hold (support for tax increases or support for undocumented immigrants, for example). Next, they conduct interviews with a randomly selected sample of constituents to identify their opinions on these issues.
Brief 41: Investigating Unrevealed Biases in Ethnic Voting Behavior in Ugandan Public Opinion Surveys
To test the extent to which respondents conceal their true preferences, the author designs and implements a survey experiment in Uganda with 753 respondents. The author randomly sampled census enumeration areas. Then, surveyors recruited respondents from every fifth household in four directions from the center of the enumeration areas.