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Principal Investigators: Claire Adida, Jessica Gottlieb, Eric Kramon, Gwyneth McClendon
Country: Benin

Registration: 20150308AA

Dates of Intervention: February – March 2015 (National Assembly Elections, March 31, 2015)

Background: This project provides citizens in Benin with information about legislator performance while varying (1) the salience of the information to voters’ wellbeing, and (2) whether performance information is disseminated privately or in groups.

Research Design: A random sample of citizens will receive legislator performance information as part of a private screening, and another random sample will receive it as part of a public screening. Additionally, a random sample of citizens will receive a “civics message” in which arguments and examples are provided about the important implications of national legislation and oversight for citizens’ wellbeing in addition to legislator performance information; the rest will receive only the legislator performance information. In control villages, no information will be disseminated either publicly or privately. The electoral behavior of respondents in the different treatment conditions will be compared to the electoral behavior of respondents in control villages.

  • In a context in which voters have little access to attributable information about national legislators, providing performance information will affect vote choice at the individual-level and vote-share at the village level.
  • Providing explicit arguments about the value of politician performance for voter welfare will amplify the effect of information provision on voter behavior.
  • By increasing the belief that others will vote based on a performance dimension, the provision of public information will have a greater impact on voter behavior than the provision of private information by facilitating coordination.
  • Common knowledge should produce a greater marginal impact in the civics message treatment relative to the treatment in which performance information alone is provided.