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 authors estimate the effects of an anti-vote buying campaign carried out in the five weeks prior to the election by the Alliance for Election Campaign Finance Monitoring (ACFIM)—a coalition of Ugandan civil society organizations. The anti-vote buying intervention included five elements: (1) a community visit from an NGO, (2) a leaflet drop, (3) a community meeting, (4) targeted robocalls, and (5) publicly displayed posters. The experiment took place in 918 parishes, which included 2,796 surveyed villages.
The authors conducted their study in three constituencies selected to include communities that were electorally competitive or strongholds for either of the major parties. They videotaped and edited the debates to show 1,991 respondents different portions of the debates on smartphones. The treatment entailed showing respondents different combinations of segments. In one treatment condition (N=391), participants watched only the personal background segment. In another treatment condition (N=409), participants only viewed the policy segment.
This study was implemented during two local elections for county legislature during the 2010 general election in the U.S. Registered voters who had participated in the last 3 party primaries were randomly assigned into three groups—one to receive a positive message about the candidate, one to receive a negative message about the opponent, and one as control (which received no messaging). The messages were delivered by mail, and also provided the individual with the option of donating to the campaign.
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.