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Do Citizens Respond to Better Information on Local Public Finance? Evidence from a Field Experiment During the 2019 Colombian Municipal Elections
Last registered on October 28, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Do Citizens Respond to Better Information on Local Public Finance? Evidence from a Field Experiment During the 2019 Colombian Municipal Elections
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004951
Initial registration date
October 26, 2019
Last updated
October 28, 2019 11:19 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2019-10-11
End date
2022-05-15
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We hypothesize that more transparency about the sources and use of public funds helps voters make better judgements about their elected officials, making them more likely to vote in order to effect political change. We examine the effect of information on voter behavior by randomizing whether we provide a municipality's journalists, community leaders, and the general public with simple and accessible information about local public finance collected by the central government.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Fonseca, Angela and Luis Reyes. 2019. "Do Citizens Respond to Better Information on Local Public Finance? Evidence from a Field Experiment During the 2019 Colombian Municipal Elections." AEA RCT Registry. October 28. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4951-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We evaluate a program that disseminates information collected by the central government about public finance in Colombia.
Intervention Start Date
2019-10-11
Intervention End Date
2019-10-27
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Voter turnout, change in incumbent party (for mayor and city council), blank/null voting.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We disseminate, in an easy-to-understand format, publicly available information about public finance to randomly chosen Colombian municipalities.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
We randomly chose municipalities using random numbers generated by Stata from a random seed obtained from random.org. We chose the municipalities from a list of all Colombian municipalities that excluded six major capital cities - Bogotá, Barranquilla, Cúcuta, Medellín, Cali, and Bucaramanga, as well as municipalities that as of 2017 (the latest available information) did not have their own radio stations.
Randomization Unit
We randomized at the municipality level. Outcomes are observed at the polling station level.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
There is a total of 746 clusters (municipalities)
Sample size: planned number of observations
11826 polling stations.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
104 clusters outreach during municipal and national elections; 104 clusters outreach during national elections only; 208 clusters information through Facebook ads.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
For alpha=0.05 and power=0.8: For an effect size of .2 standard deviations, a balanced experiment requires 199 clusters/municipalities. If the effect size is allowed to be 0.31 standard deviations (to be able to detect effects greater than 5 percentage points in turnout), each treatment group requires 85 municipalities. For alpha=0.1 and power=0.8: Assuming rho=.29, for an effect size of .2 standard deviations, a balanced experiment requires 158 clusters/municipalities. If the effect size is allowed to be 0.31 standard deviations (to be able to detect effects greater than 5 percentage points in turnout), each treatment group requires 67 municipalities.
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number