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

See all articles by Jenny C. Aker

Jenny C. Aker

Tufts University - The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy; Center for Global Development

Paul Collier

University of Oxford - Blavatnik School of Government

Pedro C. Vicente

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 1, 2013

Abstract

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

Aker, Jenny C. and Collier, Paul and Vicente, Pedro C., Is Information Power? Using Mobile Phones and Free Newspapers During an Election in Mozambique (May 1, 2013). NOVAFRICA Working Paper Series No. 1304, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2384596 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2384596

Jenny C. Aker

Tufts University - The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy ( email )

Medford, MA 02155
United States

Center for Global Development ( email )

2055 L St. NW
5th floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Paul Collier

University of Oxford - Blavatnik School of Government ( email )

10 Merton St
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4JJ
United Kingdom

Pedro C. Vicente (Contact Author)

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics ( email )

Campus de Campolide
Lisbon, 1099-032
Portugal

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
45
Abstract Views
598
PlumX Metrics