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Brief 37: Voter and Candidate Response to Political Debates

Before the 2012 parliamentary elections, the research team identified 28 constituencies with relatively competitive elections (based on previous vote results, ethnic-partisan bias, and the whether the seat had recently changed parties). From these 28, 14 were randomly selected, and a civil society group called Search for Common Ground (SFCG) invited candidates from the three major parties to participate in debates. First, candidates answered some getting-to-know-you questions. Then, they answered questions on a variety of national policy issues.

Brief 28: Democracy Promotion In Cambodia

To carry out the intervention, six Cambodian districts were selected from within three provinces. Within each of the six districts, the partner NGO nominated two candidate villages, and a coin flip decided which would receive the intervention (treatment group) and which would be in the control. Prior to the intervention, researchers distributed 120 surveys to randomly selected villagers in each of the 12 treatment and control villages, and then returned to re-interview these same respondents a week after the intervention was carried out.


Brief 22: Getting Out the Vote

The total number of individuals who would not have voted in the absence of a telephone or in-person contact is the effect of the treatment on the treated. This quantity focuses only on those who who answer the door or phone when assigned such contact. Since households were randomly assigned to treatment — and since cluster-level randomization checks did not argue against randomization failure — Hansen and Bowers show how to use random assignment to generate a confidence interval for this total.


Brief 17: Corruption in Mexico


The treatment consisted of citizen exposure to information about the use of FISM funding for public goods that was collected by the audit agency in 2007. The audits revealed that mayors did not spend all the money they received from FISM, that they did not spend all of the money in poor areas, and that in average 30% of funds were spent in a corrupt manner. The researchers show that only 10% of voters had been aware of the existence of FISM prior to their intervention.


Brief 16: Spillover Effects of Observers in Ghana

The authors designed and implemented a randomized field experiment to test two hypotheses: first, areas with observers should have smaller increases in registrations than areas without observers. Second, areas without observers located near observed areas should have larger increases in registrations than those that are far away from observed areas. Four of the ten regions in Ghana were selected, including Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Greater Accra, and Northern Regions (see map below), to cover a wide range of constituencies and incumbent and opposition strongholds.


Brief 13: Reducing Clientelism in Benin

In his 2001 experiment, Wantchekon assigned 24 villages to receive one of two kinds of electoral campaigns: a ‘clientelistic’ campaign, with handouts of gifts and promises of material favors in exchange for votes; and a ‘programmatic’ campaign, in which candidates promised to implement broad policy programs that would benefit the nation as a whole. The researchers compared the share of votes obtained by candidates in the treated villages with their results in other villages in which they ran their election campaign as usual.


Brief 11: Election Observers and Fraud in Ghana

The researchers partnered with CODEO and assigned 1,000 of CODEO’s 4,000 election monitors in a randomized saturation experimental design.  The researchers randomly assigned constituencies to receive observers at 30%, 50%, or 80% of their polling stations, and then randomly assigned the observers to the individual polling stations within the constituencies.  This process – randomly assigning both the observers and the saturation rate – allows them to measure two types of effects: 1) whether fraud decreases at the observed polling places compared with control l


Brief 09: Electoral Responses to Corruption Revelations

This study relies on the timing of the audits relative to the October 2004 municipal elections. The treatment group consists of the 205 municipalities that were audited before the election and the control group consists of the 168 villages that were audited between October 2004 and July 2005. The treatment is therefore the exposure of corruption (or lack thereof) within municipal governments before the election.


Brief 07: Do Party Politics Undermine Ethnic Quotas?

This study employs two different research designs to test the impact of ethnic quotas. First, the researchers take advantage of a peculiarity in the quota system, which creates a so-called “natural experiment.” Villages take turns reserving seats for disadvantaged castes, and during each election cycle certain pairs of villages have a nearly random chance of being selected or not for quotas. While this “natural experiment” is not a true field experiment, the researchers present evidence that this technique comes close to an experimental randomization.


Brief 06: Voter Benchmarks in Developing Countries

The sample is 95 rural communes, each consisting of approximately 18 villages averaging 1000 inhabitants each (though only 6 villages were randomly selected into the sample). Of the communes, 31 were randomly assigned to the control group, 32 to the first treatment group, and 32 to a second treatment group. There were 370 treated villages in total. The first treatment group was given two civics courses that taught participants about local governments’ responsibilities in providing public goods.