Radio's Impact on Preferences for Patronage Benefits
51 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016
Date Written: June 1, 2014
Citizens in developing countries support politicians who provide patronage or clientelist benefits, such as government jobs and gifts at the time of elections. Can access to mass media that broadcasts public interest messages shift citizens' preferences for such benefits? This paper examines the impact of community radio on responses to novel survey vignettes that make an explicit trade-off between political promises of jobs for a few versus public services for all. The impact of community radio is identified through a natural experiment in the media market in northern Benin, which yields exogenous variation in access across villages. Respondents in villages with greater radio access are less likely to express support for patronage jobs that come at the expense of public health or education. Gift-giving is not necessarily traded off against public services; correspondingly, radio access does not reduce preferences for candidates who give gifts. The pattern of results is consistent with a particular mechanism for radio's impact: increasing citizens' demand for broadly delivered health and education and thereby shaping their preferences for clientelist candidates.
Keywords: Health Monitoring & Evaluation, Education For All, Population Policies, Housing & Human Habitats, E-Business
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation