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Is Information Power? Using Mobile Phones and Free Newspapers during an Election in Mozambique

Author

Listed:
  • Jenny C. Aker

    (Tufts University)

  • Paul Collier

    (University of Oxford)

  • Pedro C. Vicente

    (Nova School of Business and Economics Universidade Nova de Lisboa, and BREAD)

Abstract

African elections often reveal low levels of political accountability. We assess different forms of voter education during an election in Mozambique. Three interventions providing information to voters and calling for their participation were randomized: an information campaign using SMS, an SMS hotline for electoral misconduct, and the distribution of a free newspaper. To measure impact, we look at official electoral results, reports by electoral observers, and behavioral and survey data. We find positive effects of all treatments on voter turnout. However, only the distribution of the free newspaper led to more accountability-based participation and to a decrease in electoral problems.

Suggested Citation

  • Jenny C. Aker & Paul Collier & Pedro C. Vicente, 2017. "Is Information Power? Using Mobile Phones and Free Newspapers during an Election in Mozambique," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(2), pages 185-200, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:99:y:2017:i:2:p:185-200
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    Cited by:

    1. Cátia Batista & Marcel Fafchamps & Pedro C. Vicente, 2018. "Keep It Simple: A Field Experiment on Information Sharing in Social Networks," NBER Working Papers 24908, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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