Banerjee A, Duflo E, Impert C, Pande R, Walton M, Mahapatra B, 2014. An impact evaluation of information disclosure on elected representatives’ performance: evidence for rural and urban India, 3ie impact Evaluation Report 11. New Delhi: International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie)Link to Source
The study consists of two distinct randomized experimets. In Rajasthan the study uses a cluster randomised controlled design. Randomly selected consituencies in three distircts were exposed to a pre-election awareness campain (PEVAC) which used calenders, door-to-door canvassing and street theatre to convey information about elected officials’ responsibilities in providing public goods and employment ot the village. The information provided was non-partisan and no incumbent specific information was provided.
In Delhi, the study also uses a cluster RCT design to evaluate two interventions: a) midterm and pre-election newspaper report cards provided voters with information on councillor spending decision and committee attendance and b) another set of report cards, given to the ward councillors and not slum dwellers, provided information on toilet and garbage conditions in the slums.
The study found that in Rajasthan, the PEVAC weakened the incumbent and widened and changed the pool of candidates. In Delhi, results from the study suggest that report card had an impact on the councillors as they directed more spending towards slum relevant categories and less was spent on roads, materials and ‘trucking’. On the other hand, the second set of report cards that were given to ward councillors did not have any significant impacts on toilet infrastructure and prices charged.
Overall, the results from the study show that information provision can play a role in reducing information asymmetries between politicians and their constituents and in improving service delivery.
About this impact evaluation
This study evaluates the impact of two pre-election voter education campaigns (PEVACs) on civic participation, public service provision and elected legislator performance in two regions of India. The intervention includes two PEVACs, providing information to citizens in the form of pre-election awareness campaign and multi-year report cards on voting behaviours of citizens, quality of public service provisions and behaviours of politicians.
The campaigns will occur in the run-up to the Rajasthani village council (Sarpanch and Gram Panchayat) elections in late January 2010 and the Delhi Municipal Council elections in March 2011. These campaigns are accompanied by community discussions, led by local fieldworkers, on interpreting the report card data, the importance of voting, mechanisms of voter registration and discouragement from accepting bribes and gifts from party members.
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