Does the provision of information on outcomes of local governments improve political accountability?

Last registered on December 13, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Does the provision of information on outcomes of local governments improve political accountability?
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001695
Initial registration date
October 21, 2016

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
October 21, 2016, 7:00 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
December 13, 2017, 9:32 AM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Universidad de Chile

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
PI Affiliation
Centro de Estudios Públicos
PI Affiliation
MIT

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2016-10-12
End date
2017-02-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Does the provision of information on outcomes of local governments improve political accountability? In this project we study, first, whether the provision of information on the performance of local public schools by incumbent politicians affects political outcomes (i.e. turnout and vote for the incumbent) and, second, whether there are heterogeneous by different ways of providing information, i. e. with different benchmarks.

We test this in the context of Chile, where (i) the provision of public education depends on locally elected governments and (ii) there are reliable data on educational outcomes. The experiment consists in sending an information letter to voters in randomly selected voting booths one week before local elections, to be held in October 23, 2016. The letters contain information on past performance of incumbent mayors on education (correcting for differences in socioeconomic status and resources across different municipalities), in both levels and changes. Furthermore, we will also assess the effects of two different yardsticks: in one group of letters we stress the average educational performance of municipalities and in the other, the performance of the top municipality. With this, we expect to provide insights on how citizens assess information when they have different benchmarks at hand, and on how they trade-off information on performance in levels and changes.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Cox, Loreto et al. 2017. "Does the provision of information on outcomes of local governments improve political accountability?." AEA RCT Registry. December 13. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1695
Former Citation
Cox, Loreto et al. 2017. "Does the provision of information on outcomes of local governments improve political accountability?." AEA RCT Registry. December 13. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1695/history/23945
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Delivery of information related to mayor's performance to voters before election.
Intervention Start Date
2016-10-23
Intervention End Date
2016-10-24

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Turnout Outcomes:

Turnout: percentage of registered citizen in booth that actually turn out.
Women's/Men's turnout: percentage of women/men in booth that actually turned out.
Turnout by age groups: percentage of people turning out in booth by age range (in 5 year ranges).

Results of the mayor's election
Incumbent's vote share: percentage of votes for the incumbent over total votes.
Main challenger's vote share: percentage of votes for the most competitive challenger over total votes.
Invalid votes: percentage of invalid votes over total votes.
Competitiveness of election: difference between the percentage of votes of the most voted and the second most voted candidate for mayor.

Results of the municipal council's election
Vote share of the incumbent mayor's coalition.
Vote share of the Nueva Mayoría (government and center left political coalition)
Vote share of Chile Vamos (center right political coalition) (main opposition) coalition.
Vote share of the two main historical coalitions (Nueva Mayoría and Chile Vamos).
Vote share of independent candidates (regardless of whether they belong to a coalition).
Vote share of independent candidates with no coalition.
Difference in the vote shares of Nueva Mayoria and Chile Vamos,
Difference in the vote shares of most voted and second most voted coalitions.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Random selection of voting booths within each county.
Experimental Design Details
We randomly select 6 voting booths in each county and assign 3 to each treatment arm, each one in one stratum (there are 3 strata in each county, associated to the fracion of women among registered voters in the booth). By this procedure, we assign 354 voting booths among a universe of 22,938 voting booths.

The 46 remaining voting booths were assigned according to a procedure explained in the Pre Analysis Plan that ensures balance across fraction of women in voting booth, counties and educational results of the county.

Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Voting Booths: we treat (i.e. send a letter) to each voter registered in selected voting booths. But data is grouped at voting booth level.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
400
Sample size: planned number of observations
22,938 voting booths
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
200 for each treatment arm.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
MDE for mayor's election variables: 2 percentage points. More details are available on Pre Analysis Plan.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Comité de Ética Científica en Ciencias Solciales y Humanidades, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
IRB Approval Date
2016-09-16
IRB Approval Number
160711004
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials