40 research outputs found

    Kenya's New Constitution

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    On 4 August 2010, Kenyans voted to adopt a new constitution, culminating a process that began as part of a resolution to the violent conflict that followed the December 2007 elections. By reducing executive power, devolving authority, and guaranteeing rights to women, minorities, and marginalized communities, the constitution has the potential to transform Kenyan politics. Political and logistical obstacles will, however, pose a challenge to implementation. Yet that the constitution has been adopted amidst a broader trend toward the institutionalization of political power in AfricaÔÇöa context in which formal constitutional rules are increasingly consequentialÔÇöprovides cause for cautious optimism

    The impact of parliamentary debates on Ghana's 2016 elections

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    Both televised and radio debates increase informed and tolerant voter behaviour, boding well for peaceful elections in young democracies, say Sarah Brierly, Eric Kramon and George Ofosu

    Electoral fraud or violence: the effect of observers on party manipulation strategies

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    This article reports on the effects of domestic election observers on electoral fraud and violence. Using an experimental research design and polling station data on fraud and violence during Ghana's 2012 elections, it shows that observers reduced fraud and violence at the polling stations which they monitored. It is argued that local electoral competition shapes party activists' response to observers. As expected, in single-party dominant areas, parties used their local political networks to relocate fraud to polling stations without an election observer, and, in contrast, party activists relocated violence to stations without observers in competitive areas - a response that requires less local organizational capacity. This highlights how local party organization and electoral incentives can shape the manipulative electoral strategies employed by parties in democratic elections

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

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    Voters may be unable to hold politicians to account if they lack basic information about their representativesÔÇÖ 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

    Aid on Demand: African Leaders and the Geography of China's Foreign Assistance

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    Vote Buying and Accountability in Democratic Africa

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    The distribution of cash to voters during elections, vote buying, is extremely widespread in many democracies. That vote buying is so widespread raises concerns about the quality of emerging democratic institutions and the potential for elections to deliver better and more accountable government. I develop a new theory to explain why politicians in new democracies distribute money to potential voters. I argue that cash handouts are effective because they convey information to voters about the extent to which a candidate will protect and serve their interests in the future, especially with respect to the provision of patronage resources. I test this informational theory with observational and experimental data collected in Kenya, as well with existing data from a larger set of African countries. As vote buying is secretive and sensitive, and so survey and interview responses are subject to response bias, I use several survey and experimental methods to improve descriptive and causal inferences about vote buying. In a variety of empirical tests, I provide evidence directly consistent with the informational theory; I show that patterns in the prevalence and geographic allocation of vote buying across and within African countries are best explained by the informational theory; and I provide evidence that helps to rule out existing explanations.Chapter 2 analyzes data from a nationally representative survey and survey list experiment, a method that reduces response bias in survey questions, to show that cash handouts influenced the vote choice of about 20 percent of Kenyans during the country's 2007 elections. Chapter 3 presents the informational theory and provides preliminary evidence from existing ethnographic studies and survey data from 18 African countries. Chapter 4 shows that existing explanations for vote buying, which focus on the role of political machines or on the mobilization of voter turnout, are insufficient to explain widespread cash handouts in Kenya and other African settings. Chapter 5 analyzes survey experimental data to show that, when Kenyan voters hear that a political candidate has distributed cash, they prefer that candidate to an otherwise identical candidate who has not done so. This effect is especially strong among poorer voters. Additionally, vote buying increases voters' expectations that a candidate will provide them with patronage and private benefits in the future, direct evidence consistent with the informational argument. Chapter 6 shows that, in conveying this information about patronage, vote buying reinforces and perpetuates patterns of ethnic voting---that is, the propensity of voters to support members of their own ethnic group at the polls. Experimental results show, in contrast to psychological or expressive theories of ethnic voting, that participants only prefer coethnic candidates and only expect to benefit from their patronage when they are engaged in vote buying. I demonstrate external validity by showing that vote buying has the most influence on vote choice when voters are targeted by members of their own ethnic group. Chapter 7 uses data about the geographic allocation of local public goods projects in Kenya to show that vote buying is associated with more patronage allocations after an election. This result is consistent with the idea that handouts can be an informative signal about future performance. Chapter 8 shows that cash handouts not only help to convince voters that they should support a particular candidate, they also mobilize them to turn out to vote in order to gain access to the patronage resources that the patron will allocate in the future. The last empirical chapter, Chapter 9, steps back from the question of why vote buying is effective to ask why vote-getting strategies takes the form of direct vote buying in some places but not others. With data from across Africa, I show that direct vote buying is most prevalent where local intermediaries, in this case traditional rulers, are not present or powerful enough to deliver large numbers of voters in a block. That is, politicians in Africa directly hand out cash in settings where they must win votes without the assistance of strong local brokers, a pattern that the informational theory is best suited to explain. I conclude the dissertation by discussing the implications of the results, which complicate normative interpretations of vote buying

    Ethnic Favoritism in Education in Kenya

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