Crossing Party Lines: The Effects of Information on Redistributive Politics
63 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2012 Last revised: 13 Jan 2016
Date Written: February 24, 2015
Many lament that weak accountability and poor governance impede economic development in Africa. Politicians rely on ethnic allegiances that deliver the vote irrespective of performance, dampening electoral incentives. Giving voters information about candidate competence counters ethnic loyalty and strengthens accountability. I extend a canonical electoral model to show how information provision áows through voter behavior and ultimately impacts the distribution of political spending. I test the theory on data from Sierra Leone using decentralization and differential radio coverage to identify informationís effects. Estimates suggest that information increases voting across ethnic-party lines and induces a more equitable allocation of campaign spending.
JEL Classification: D72, O17, H41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation