Expert Information, Public Deliberation and Electoral Support for Good Governance; Experimental Evidence from Benin

This paper provides experimental evidence on the effect of "informed" public deliberation on electoral support for programmatic, non-clientelist platforms. The experiment takes place in Benin and involves real candidates running in the first round of the 2006 presidential elections. The treatment is a campaign strategy based exclusively on town meetings during which policy proposals made by candidates are "specific" and informed by empirical research. The control is the "standard" strategy based on campaign rallies and targeted or clientelist electoral promises. Wantchekon finds that the treatment has a positive effect on boter information about policies and candidates. He also finds that turnout and electoral support for the candidates participating in the experiment were higher in treatment villages than in control villages. He argues that political parties can overcome the need for distributing favors in order to win votes, by improving the extent to which their policy promises are informed by empirical policy research.

Expert Information, Public Deliberation and Electoral Support for Good Governance; Experimental Evidence from Benin
Expert-Information-final-10.pdf