Pro-social or Career Motivated Politicians? Evidence from Village Elections in Pakistan

Last registered on September 01, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Pro-social or Career Motivated Politicians? Evidence from Village Elections in Pakistan
Initial registration date
April 12, 2015

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
April 12, 2015, 8:56 PM EDT

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

Last updated
September 01, 2023, 10:34 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

Princeton University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Pittsburgh

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
In this project, we design three experiments that provide the first experimental evidence on 1) what motivates people to seek political office, 2) how certain types of people can be encouraged to become politicians, and 3) whether voters care to put certain types of politicians in office. In the first experiment, we examine the process of candidacy by randomizing at the individual level three factors that contribute to a citizens decision to seek political office: 1) expected benefits, by making salient private or prosocial benefits from seeking office, 2) costs, by providing a lawyer to help file papers, and 3) the probability of election, by polling the village and providing this information to prospective politicians. In the second experiment, we consider specific policy responses that can be used to help certain types of people, such as the non- elite, to seek office. We test to see if messages delivered through canvassing and/or training can encourage people to participate in politics by seeking office. In the final experiment, we examine if voters care about who runs for political office. We run a get-out-the-vote experiment that provides random village-level variation in turnout at the village level. We use this experiment as an instrument for turnout to study how characteristics of the elected council change when marginal voters vote.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Gulzar, Saad and Yasir Khan. 2023. "Pro-social or Career Motivated Politicians? Evidence from Village Elections in Pakistan." AEA RCT Registry. September 01.
Former Citation
Gulzar, Saad and Yasir Khan. 2023. "Pro-social or Career Motivated Politicians? Evidence from Village Elections in Pakistan." AEA RCT Registry. September 01.
Experimental Details


1. Delivery of the salience of career and social benefits from running for political office through canvassing and training
2. Delivery of information regarding electability
3. Services of a lawyer to help with paper filing
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We will test outcomes at the training stage and the candidacy stage, where we obtain individual data through a primary survey, and at the voting stage, where we can use elections data at the village level to study voting behavior. Outcomes will include who shows up to the trainings? Who files papers? Who is declared a successful candidate? Who is voted into office? Measure of pro-sociality and career motivations at each level.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We design a village level pilot experiment in 2 districts of KP, Pakistan. This involves the randomized roll out of social mobilizers to villages. Field activities will proceed as follows: a pair of social mobilizers will canvass the village with the aim of reaching about 50 households. They will prime the HHs on career, or social incentives to run for office and inform them about a training on local elections the following day. Then mobilizers will then compile a list of all the nominated people, and approach them to deliver individual level treatments.

The training will be organized in the village to make it accessible for everyone. The participants of the trainings will be explained the formal process of declaring candidacy for the village council elections. They will also be primed again on the career or social incentives of running for office. We aim to complete these activities before the official date of announcement of candidacies. After the declaration of the candidates we will send our teams to the same villages again to conduct in-depth surveys of people who have declared their candidacy for the village councils.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Done in office on a computer.
Randomization Unit
Villages and individuals
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
230 villages
Sample size: planned number of observations
1500 nominees, 8000 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
23 villages per the smallest treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University Committee on Activities Involving Human Subjects, NYU
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
IRB Name
Committee on the Use of Humans as Experimental Subjects, MIT
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Pre-Analysis Plan for "Politicians: Experimental Evidence on Candidacy"

MD5: 1b21c389c9d783c30bd8474500d02ace

SHA1: fcada864e61c5005bc9cf9cca3c82ce4941a1763

Uploaded At: November 02, 2015


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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

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Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials