Do Election Monitors Matter? An Experimental Analysis in Côte d’Ivoire

Last registered on October 22, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Do Election Monitors Matter? An Experimental Analysis in Côte d’Ivoire
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008417
Initial registration date
October 21, 2021
Last updated
October 22, 2021, 10:19 AM EDT

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Bucknell University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2021-10-30
End date
2021-10-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Do election monitors influence views of elections? In Cote d’Ivoire I will test this question using the past election held on October 31, 2020 to see how the views of international election monitors influence the views of Ivorian citizens about the election one year later. Following Benstead et al. (2020), I test if the statements of international election monitors had an effect on views of the electorate. For this analysis, I will use a relatively positive statement about the election, a negative statement, and a control which provides no statement positive or negative about the election. Statements about the election come from those made by elections monitors following the election. The statements about the elections and control will be randomized across randomly selected respondents in Abidjan and Grand Bassam. In addition to examining views of the past election, I will also test to see if statements by election monitors influences views about monitoring in the future, and democracy more generally.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Doces, John. 2021. "Do Election Monitors Matter? An Experimental Analysis in Côte d’Ivoire." AEA RCT Registry. October 22. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8417-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Version 1 (Treatment--positive)

The joint International Election Observation Mission, a collaboration of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) and the Carter Center (USA), deployed 50 international observers to observe the October 31st 2020 presidential election. Based on their observations they concluded that, “Although the voting processes took place amid a highly problematic context, observers reports that officials generally adhered to voting procedures in the majority of the open polling stations visited.” Do you think the election held on October 31st 2021 was free and fair?

Version 2 (Treatment--negative)

The joint International Election Observation Mission, a collaboration of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) and the Carter Center (USA), deployed 50 international observers to observe the October 31st 2020 presidential election. Based on their observations they concluded that, “The overall context and process of the polls did not allow for a genuinely competitive election. It was hampered by an active boycott by a segment of the population and broad sectors of the Ivorian population did not participate.” Do you think the election held on October 31st 2021 was free and fair?

Version 3 (Control)

Do you think the election held on October 31st 2021 was free and fair?

Intervention Start Date
2021-10-30
Intervention End Date
2021-10-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
-Do you think the election was free and fair?

-In the future, do you think international election monitors should observe elections in Côte d’Ivoire?

-Which of the following political systems do you prefer for Cote d’Ivoire:
Democratic system with elections; Authoritarian system with single-party rule and no elections; Traditional rule by Chiefs
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Respondents will be randomly selected using a random-walk in Abidjan and Grand-Bassam. Treatments and control will be randomly assigned to respondents according to a pre-determined random shuffling of the versions.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Done prior using Excel to randomly shuffle the treatments and control. We will collect 300 total observations so there will be 100 of each version. Using Excel I will have 100 of each version for a total of 300 versions and they will be randomly shuffled and then assigned in that order to six enumerators.
Randomization Unit
Randomization will be done at the individual level.
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Respondents will be assigned in pairs to different areas of Abidjan and Grand-Bassam. Thus the sampling will be done using clusters but the random assignment is not clustered.
Sample size: planned number of observations
Total number is 300 individuals.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Two treatments and one control will each be assigned 100 times.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Bucknell University Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2021-10-01
IRB Approval Number
2122-034

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