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Voter Pessimism and Electoral Accountability: Experimental Evidence from Kenya
Last registered on May 02, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Voter Pessimism and Electoral Accountability: Experimental Evidence from Kenya
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000005
Initial registration date
May 21, 2013
Last updated
May 02, 2017 4:17 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Stanford University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2013-01-26
End date
2014-05-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The chapter combines novel survey, audit, and experimental data to illustrate how voter pessimism can undermine electoral accountability. It reconciles mixed findings in the literature by highlighting two conditions under which anti-corruption information campaigns are likely to improve electoral accountability: (1) voters have sufficient information about politician performance and (2) voters are not too pessimistic about the quality of the political class. The treatment provided factual information from audits of incumbent performance on Constituency Development Fund spending. Before treatment, public opinion data from Afrobarometer and Ipsos Synovate indicate that Kenyan voters believe that almost all politicians are corrupt. The treatment has no impact on voter beliefs about their own incumbent, but improves perceptions of the political class for voters who find out that their incumbent is clean. The findings suggest that although voter judgments about incumbent performance tend to be fixed, voter pessimism towards the political class does update with factual information.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Zhang, Kelly. 2017. "Voter Pessimism and Electoral Accountability: Experimental Evidence from Kenya." AEA RCT Registry. May 02. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5-8.0.
Former Citation
Zhang, Kelly. 2017. "Voter Pessimism and Electoral Accountability: Experimental Evidence from Kenya." AEA RCT Registry. May 02. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/5/history/17187.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The intervention was embedded within a series of factual SMS messages. Information on how much money was allocated to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and how much money actually reached projects was provided to constituents. The intervention used audit data from the National Taxpayer's Association Citizen Report Cards.
Intervention Start Date
2013-03-02
Intervention End Date
2013-03-07
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Information uptake, political support, beliefs about incumbent quality
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
See pre-analysis plan.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Treatment was randomly assigned at the individual level, in a nationwide sample.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done using Stata.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A
Sample size: planned number of observations
2500 individuals/1600 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
N/A
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
MDE=5% change in perceived leakage, sd=28.8667, power=0.80, alpha=0.05
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Stanford IRB
IRB Approval Date
2012-12-21
IRB Approval Number
26335
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
Pre-Analysis Plan (Updated)

MD5: 591e45bf3c8daa0762ecaffdbb91f2b6

SHA1: 1515c2191c99b9149f4a31a42739e593609e6bf2

Uploaded At: February 18, 2014

Pre-Analysis Plan

MD5: bcc3c60703c8a1f8aa16cd9e139033d1

SHA1: 57e20c9da41d21bf89c174f74673a7a84e2fa33e

Uploaded At: November 08, 2013

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, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS