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.
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.