The Perils of Voter Mobilization

72 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2017

See all articles by Benjamin Marx

Benjamin Marx

Innovations for Poverty Action

Vincent Pons

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Tavneet Suri

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management

Date Written: October 2017

Abstract

Voter mobilization campaigns face trade-offs in young democracies. In a large-scale experiment implemented in 2013 with the Kenyan Electoral Commission (IEBC), text messages intended to mobilize voters boosted participation but also decreased trust in electoral institutions after the election, a decrease that was stronger in areas that experienced election-related violence, and for individuals on the losing side of the election. The mobilization backfired because the IEBC promised an electronic voting system that failed, resulting in manual voting and tallying delays. Using a simple model, we show signaling high institutional capacity via a mobilization campaign can negatively affect beliefs about the fairness of the election.

Suggested Citation

Marx, Benjamin and Pons, Vincent and Suri, Tavneet, The Perils of Voter Mobilization (October 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23946. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3057177

Benjamin Marx (Contact Author)

Innovations for Poverty Action ( email )

1731 Connecticut Ave, 4th floor
New Haven, CT 20009
United States

Vincent Pons

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
E52-391
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Tavneet Suri

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Sloan School of Management ( email )

100 Main Street
E62-416
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
4
Abstract Views
146
PlumX Metrics