Voting and Peer Effects: Experimental Evidence from Mozambique

50 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2018

See all articles by Marcel Fafchamps

Marcel Fafchamps

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies

Ana Vaz

University of Oxford

Pedro C. Vicente

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2018

Abstract

Voter education campaigns often aim to increase voter participation and political accountability. Randomized interventions were implemented nationwide during the 2009 Mozambican elections using leaflets, text messaging, and a free newspaper. We study the local peer effecs triggered by the campaign. We investigate whether treatment effects are transmitted through social networks and geographical proximity at the village level. For individuals personally targeted by the campaign, we estimate the reinforcement effect of proximity to other individuals in our sample. For untargeted individuals, we estimate how the campaign diffuses as a function of proximity to others in the sample. We find evidence for both effects, similar across treatments and proximity measures. The campaign raises the level of interest in the election through networks, in line with the average treatment effect. However, we find a negative network effect of the treatment on voter participation, implying that the positive effect of treatment on more central individuals is smaller. We interpret this result as consistent with free-riding through pivotal reasoning and we provide additional evidence to support this claim.

Suggested Citation

Fafchamps, Marcel and Vaz, Ana and Vicente, Pedro C., Voting and Peer Effects: Experimental Evidence from Mozambique (January 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12580, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3102195

Marcel Fafchamps (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Ana Vaz

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Pedro C. Vicente

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

Campus de Campolide
Lisbon, 1099-032
Portugal

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