Information Dissemination, Competitive Pressure, and Politician Performance between Elections: A Field Experiment in Uganda

45 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2017

See all articles by Guy Grossman

Guy Grossman

University of Pennsylvania

Kristin Michelitch

Vanderbilt University

Date Written: September 12, 2017

Abstract

Politicians regularly underperform in their job duties due to the obscurity of their actions to constituents. In this study, we investigate the effects of a local NGO's initiative to improve the transparency of politicians' performance in a multi-year field experiment involving 408 politicians in 20 Ugandan district governments between the 2011 and 2016 elections. The NGO assembled annual performance scorecards to rate how well politicians carried out their legally defined job duties, and presented them to all politicians in plenary sessions. For randomly-selected politicians, the scorecard was additionally disseminated to constituents for two mid-term years. We find that scorecard dissemination to citizens improved politicians' subsequent performance across a range of performance measures, but only in competitive constituencies. These findings suggest that, conditional on electoral pressure, performance transparency can improve politicians' performance between elections. Service delivery, affected by the performance of many diverse government actors other than politicians, was unaffected.

Keywords: Political Accountability; Transparency; Political Economy; Incumbent Performance

JEL Classification: H7; D72; D81

Suggested Citation

Grossman, Guy and Michelitch, Kristin, Information Dissemination, Competitive Pressure, and Politician Performance between Elections: A Field Experiment in Uganda (September 12, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3036370 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3036370

Guy Grossman (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

133 S. 36th Street
Perelman Center for Political Science and Economic
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
(215) 898-4209 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://web.sas.upenn.edu/ggros/

Kristin Michelitch

Vanderbilt University ( email )

2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240
United States

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