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.
In the lead-up to the 2014 elections, Green and Vasudevan hired an Indian agency to script and record advertisements to discourage voting for vote-buying parties. The advertisements were skits in which actors discussed why vote-buying politicians were untrustworthy and unlikely to make good on their promises. The 60-second spots were recorded in Hindi and four regional languages (Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, and Telugu). The authors chose 60 AIR stations covering 665 ACs in ten states.
To test their theory, researchers employed original, firm-level survey experiments, conducted annually for three years starting in 2010. More than 19,000 domestic firms and nearly 4,000 foreign investment enterprises were contacted, all of which had registered after 2000. These firms were randomly divided into two groups: those who’d receive “form A” and those who’d receive “form B”. Both forms contained a list of four common activities related to business registration– “Hired a local consulting/law firm to obtain the license…” being one example.
The intervention was carried out during June to August of 2013, in 80 villages selected randomly in equal proportions from the Islands’ four main provinces. In each village, nine women and nine men were randomly selected to act as participants in the implementation of a community project. The eighteen were joined by one male and one female perceived by the community as holding a high social position, designated as ‘leaders’.