Civil society groups emphasize the need for high quality public information on the performance of politicians. But, does information really make a difference in institutionally weak environments? Does it lead to the rewarding of good performance at the polls or are voting decisions going to be dominated by ethnic ties and clientelistic relations?

The Information and Accountability Metaketa seeks to answer these questions by implementing a series of experimental projects that assess the role of information in promoting political accountability in developing countries. This Metaketa was launched in Fall 2013 and will run over the next four years.

Projects

Statement of Principles

All projects in this Metaketa will abide by a common set of principles above and beyond minimal requirements (i.e. securing formal IRB approvals, avoiding conflicts of interest, and ensuring all interventions do not violate local laws):

  • The EGAP principles on research transparency
  • Protect staff: Do not put research staff in harm’s way.
  • Informed consent: Subjects that are individuall exposed to treatments will know that information they receive is provided as part of a research project. Core project data will be publicly available in primary languages here. 
  • Partnership with local civil society or governmental actors to ensure appropriateness of information
  • Non-partisan interventions: Only non-partisan information will be provided where by nonpartisan we mean that (1) it is coming from a non-partisan source; (2) it reveals information about performance of incumbents (candidates) regardless of their party.
  • Approval from the relevant electoral commission when appropriate

The studies in general will not seek consent from individual politicians even though these may be affected by the interventions. The principle is that any information provided is information that exists in the political system that voters can choose to act upon or not and that this information is provided with consent, in a non-partisan way, without deception, and in cooperation with local groups, where appropriate.

Blog and Press

Follow updates on the Metaketa Blog
Washington Post: Replicate it! A proposal to improve the study of political accountability