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Voter information campaigns and political accountability: cumulative findings from a preregistered meta-analysis of coordinated trials

Dunning, Thad, Grossman, Guy, Humphreys, Macartan, Hyde, Susan D., McIntosh, Craig, Nellis, Gareth, Adida, Claire, Arias, Eric, Bicalho, Clara, Boas, Taylor C, Buntaine, Mark T, Chauchard, Simon, Chowdhury, Anirvan, Gottlieb, Jessica, Hidalgo, F Daniel, Holmlund, Marcus, Jablonski, Ryan S., Kramon, Eric, Larreguy, Horacio, Lierl, Malte, Marshall, John, McClendon, Gwyneth, Melo, Marcus, Nielson, Daniel L., Pickering, Paula M., Platas, Melina R, Querubin, Pablo and Sircar, Neelanjan (2019) Voter information campaigns and political accountability: cumulative findings from a preregistered meta-analysis of coordinated trials. Science Advances, 5 (7). ISSN 2375-2548

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Identification Number: 10.1126/sciadv.aaw2612

Abstract

Voters may be unable to hold politicians to account if they lack basic information about their representatives’ performance. Civil society groups and international donors therefore advocate using voter information campaigns to improve democratic accountability. Yet, are these campaigns effective? Limited replication, measurement heterogeneity, and publication biases may undermine the reliability of published research. We implemented a new approach to cumulative learning, coordinating the design of seven randomized controlled trials to be fielded in six countries by independent research teams. Uncommon for multisite trials in the social sciences, we jointly preregistered a meta-analysis of results in advance of seeing the data. We find no evidence overall that typical, nonpartisan voter information campaigns shape voter behavior, although exploratory and subgroup analyses suggest conditions under which informational campaigns could be more effective. Such null estimated effects are too seldom published, yet they can be critical for scientific progress and cumulative, policy-relevant learning.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CC BY). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science
Date Deposited: 15 May 2019 12:27
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2019 00:45
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/100814

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