Can Informed Public Deliberation Overcome Clientelism? Experimental Evidence From Benin
Fujiwara and Wantchekon (2013)
The paper focuses on the electoral effects of town hall meetings based on programmatic, nonclientelist platforms. The town hall meetings were sponsored by leading candidates and were fora for discussing specific policy platforms of broad-based public provision followed by voters' deliberation.
In treated villages, the presidential candidate endorsed and participated in town hall meetings where policy platforms were discussed.
In control villages, the presidential candidate engaged in clientelism, in a business as usual approach.
1) Compared to the clientelistic approach, treated villages had a reduced prevalence of clientelism without any effect on turnout.
2) The treatment also lowers the vote share of candidates with a political stronghold in the village.