Is Information Power? Using Mobile Phones and Free Newspapers During an Election in Mozambique
NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series No. 1304
62 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2014
Date Written: May 1, 2013
African elections often reveal low levels of political accountability. We assess different forms of voter education during an election in Mozambique. Three interventions providing information to voters and calling for their electoral participation were randomized; an SMS-based information campaign, an SMS hotline for electoral misconduct, and the distribution of a free newspaper. To measure impact, we look at official electoral results, reports by electoral observers, behavioral and survey data. We find positive effects of all treatments on voter turnout. We observe that the distribution of the newspaper led to more accountability-based participation and to a decrease in electoral problems.
Keywords: voter education, political economy, cell phones, newspapers, randomized experiment, field experiment, Mozambique, Africa
JEL Classification: D72, O55, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation