Using Communications Technology to Promote Democratic Participation: Experimental Evidence Fromsouth Africa
64 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2022
We present a national-scale effort to use technology to promote political participation in an emerging democracy, South Africa. Analysis exploits randomization of incentives and messaging on a multi-channel digital platform to encourage voting, conduct opinion polling, and enable citizen monitoring of polling places during the 2014 presidential election. Different channels have starkly distinct demographic profiles, participation drops quickly as citizens are invited to more costly forms of engagement, and extrinsic incentives are found to be complementary to the intrinsic political motivation of participants. Our results illustrate how low-cost communications technology can ethically be used to promote political participation.
Keywords: Elections, Technology, Randomized Experiments.
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