Voting and peer effects: experimental evidence from Mozambique

Marcel Fafchamps, Ana Vaz, Pedro C. Vicente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Voter education campaigns often aim to increase voter participation and political accountability. Randomized interventions were implemented nationwide during the 2009 Mozambican elections using leaáets, text messaging, and a free newspaper. We study the local peer e§ecs triggered by the campaign. We investigate whether treatment e§ects are transmitted through social networks and geographical proximity at the village level. For individuals personally targeted by the campaign, we estimate the reinforcement e§ect of proximity to
other individuals in our sample. For untargeted individuals, we estimate how the campaign di§uses as a function of proximity to others in the sample. We Önd evidence for both e§ects, similar across treatments and proximity measures. The campaign raises the level of interest in the election through networks, in line with the average treatment e§ect. However, we Önd a negative network e§ect of the treatment on voter participation, implying that the positive e§ect 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)567-605
JournalEconomic Development and Cultural Change
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

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