Voting and Peer Effects: Experimental Evidence from Mozambique

Prof. Dr. Marcel Fafchamps, Oxford University

Voter education campaigns often aim to increase voter participation and political accountability. We follow randomized interventions implemented nationwide during the 2009 Mozambican elections using a free newspaper, leaffets, and text messaging. We investigate whether treatment effects were transmitted through social networks (kinship and chatting) and geographical proximity. For individuals personally targeted by the campaign, we estimate the reinforcement effect of proximity to other targeted individuals. For untargeted individuals, we estimate the diffusion of the campaign depending on proximity to targeted individuals. We find evidence for both effects, similar across the different treatments and across the different connectedness measures. We observe that the treatments worked through networks by raising the levels of information and interest about the election, in line with the average treatment effects. However, differently from those average effects, we find negative network effects of voter education on voter participation. We interpret this result as a free
riding effect, likely to occur for costly actions.

About the speaker
Dr. Fafchamps is Professor of Development Economics in the Economics Department at Oxford University. He is also a Professorial Fellow at Mansfield College and serve as Deputy Director of the Centre for the Study of African Economies. His research interests revolve around risk-coping strategies, market institutions, intrahousehold allocation, and the allocation of economic activity across space. All his research is concentrated on poor countries, mostly in Africa and South Asia.

Venue: Conference Room

Date: 27 September 2012

Time: 12:30 - 13:30  CET