Can Informed Public Deliberation Overcome Clientelism? Experimental Evidence from Benin
This paper studies the electoral effects of town hall meetings based on programmatic, nonclientelist platforms. The experiment involves the cooperation of leading candidates in a presidential election in Benin. A campaign strategy based solely on these meetings was assigned to randomly selected villages and compared to the standard strategy of clientelist rallies. We find that treatment reduces the prevalence of clientelism and does not affect turnout. Treatment also lowers the vote shares for the candidate with a political stronghold in the village and is more effective in garnering votes in regions where a candidate does not have a political stronghold.
Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
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