Joint UNU-MERIT/School of Governance Seminar: “Voting and Peer Effects – Experimental Evidence from Mozambique”
Voter education campaigns often aim to increase voter participation and political accountability. We followed randomized interventions implemented nationwide during the 2009 Mozambican elections using a free newspaper, leaflets, and text messaging.
We investigated whether treatment effects were transmitted through social networks (kinship and chatting) and geographical proximity. For individuals personally targeted by the campaign, we estimated the reinforcement effect of proximity to other targeted individuals. For untargeted individuals, we estimated the diffusion of the campaign depending on proximity to targeted individuals.
Evidence was found for both effects, similar across the different treatments and across the different connectedness measures. The treatments seemed to work through networks by raising the levels of information and interest about the election, in line with the average treatment effects. However, differently from those average effects, negative network effects of voter education on voter participation were found. This result is interpreted as a free-riding effect, likely to occur for costly actions.
Dr. Fafchamps is Professor of Development Economics in the Economics Department at Oxford University. He also is a Professorial Fellow at Mansfield College and serves as Deputy Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies. His research interests revolve around risk-coping strategies, market institutions, intra-household allocation, and the allocation of economic activity across space. All his research is concentrated on poor countries, mostly in Africa and South Asia.
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