This paper studies the electoral effects of town hall meetings based
on programmatic, nonclientelist platforms. The experiment involves
the cooperation of leading candidates in a presidential election in
Benin. A campaign strategy based solely on these meetings was
assigned to randomly selected villages and compared to the standard
strategy of clientelist rallies. We find that treatment reduces the
prevalence of clientelism and does not affect turnout. Treatment also
lowers the vote shares for the candidate with a political stronghold in
the village and is more effective in garnering votes in regions where
a candidate does not have a political stronghold.
"Can Informed Public Deliberation Overcome Clientelism? Experimental Evidence from Benin."
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics,
Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements