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Voting and Peer Effects: Experimental Evidence from Mozambique

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  • Fafchamps, Marcel
  • Vaz, Ana
  • Vicente, Pedro C

Abstract

Voter education campaigns often aim to increase voter participation and political accountability. Randomized interventions were implemented nationwide during the 2009 Mozambican elections using leaflets, text messaging, and a free newspaper. We study the local peer effecs triggered by the campaign. We investigate whether treatment effects are transmitted through social networks and geographical proximity at the village level. For individuals personally targeted by the campaign, we estimate the reinforcement effect of proximity to other individuals in our sample. For untargeted individuals, we estimate how the campaign diffuses as a function of proximity to others in the sample. We find evidence for both effects, similar across treatments and proximity measures. The campaign raises the level of interest in the election through networks, in line with the average treatment effect. However, we find a negative network effect of the treatment on voter participation, implying that the positive effect of treatment on more central individuals is smaller. We interpret this result as consistent with free-riding through pivotal reasoning and we provide additional evidence to support this claim.

Suggested Citation

  • Fafchamps, Marcel & Vaz, Ana & Vicente, Pedro C, 2018. "Voting and Peer Effects: Experimental Evidence from Mozambique," CEPR Discussion Papers 12580, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12580
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    Cited by:

    1. Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2013. "The Value of Connections: Evidence from the Italian-American Mafia," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 335, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    2. León, Gianmarco, 2017. "Turnout, political preferences and information: Experimental evidence from Peru," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 56-71.
    3. Grácio, Matilde & Vicente, Pedro C., 2021. "Information, get-out-the-vote messages, and peer influence: Causal effects on political behavior in Mozambique," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 151(C).
    4. Catia Batista & Julia Seither & Pedro C. Vicente, 2017. "Migration, political institutions, and social networks," NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series wp1701, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Nova School of Business and Economics, NOVAFRICA.
    5. 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.
    6. Batista, Catia & Seither, Julia & Vicente, Pedro C., 2019. "Do migrant social networks shape political attitudes and behavior at home?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 328-343.

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