VOTER COORDINATION AND ELECTORAL ACCOUNTABILITY: AN INFORMATIONAL EXPERIMENT IN MEXICO
Last registered on July 13, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
VOTER COORDINATION AND ELECTORAL ACCOUNTABILITY: AN INFORMATIONAL EXPERIMENT IN MEXICO
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0003135
Initial registration date
July 07, 2018
Last updated
July 13, 2018 12:19 AM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Harvard University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
ITAM
PI Affiliation
Columbia University
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2018-05-21
End date
2018-08-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
A responsive and accountable political system has the potential to support economic development, public safety, and social stability by incentivizing good performance in office, legitimizing and strengthening local governments, and fostering community buy-in. However, many voters face a low-accountability political equilibrium where they expect poor performance from their politicians—both incumbents and
challengers—and politicians do not expect voters to sanction such poor performance. This study aims to understand how such low-accountability equilibria can be broken down through the provision of information to voters that is also designed to induce explicit or tacit coordinated electoral action. Building on recent studies highlighting mixed effects of information provision on electoral accountability, we implement a randomized controlled trial that disseminates independent audit report information pertaining to municipal malfeasance in office in Mexico. To understand whether voter coordination can help break low-accountability equilibria, our delivery of this information also varies the scope for coordinated action by further randomizing a) the fraction of the municipal population that receives the information, and b) whether that fraction receiving the information is common knowledge. These treatments are delivered en masse using municipal-level Facebook ad campaigns and individually using WhatsApp messages, respectively Mexico’s most popular social media website and messenger platform. We will assess the effects of these treatments—and their within municipality spillovers—on voter beliefs, coordination, and voting behavior. The findings will inform the extent to which voter coordination can complement information dissemination campaigns to break down low-accountability equilibria. Furthermore, we will also assess the extent to which our mass Facebook campaigns can achieve this objective at low cost, and thus constitute a scalable option for enhancing political accountability.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Arbesu, Horacio et al. 2018. "VOTER COORDINATION AND ELECTORAL ACCOUNTABILITY: AN INFORMATIONAL EXPERIMENT IN MEXICO." AEA RCT Registry. July 13. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3135/history/31742
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
See pre-analysis plan.
Intervention Start Date
2018-06-20
Intervention End Date
2018-06-27
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
See pre-analysis plan.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
See pre-analysis plan.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Multiple, see the pre-analysis plan.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Several different clusters, see the pre-analysis plan.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Multiple grouos, see the pre-analysis plan.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Multiple samples, see the pre-analysis plan.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
See the pre-analysis plan.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
ITAM
IRB Approval Date
2018-05-03
IRB Approval Number
No number given
IRB Name
Columbia University IRB
IRB Approval Date
2018-05-11
IRB Approval Number
IRB-AAAR8909
IRB Name
Harvard University-Area Committee on the Use of Human Subjects
IRB Approval Date
2018-05-07
IRB Approval Number
IRB18-0743
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Pre-analysis plan

MD5: 155becdea995812f22f5a5890e73d51c

SHA1: 39db9fe7886719b7511d4e32b7d00aa737e4672b

Uploaded At: July 07, 2018

Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers