Meet the Candidates

Information and Accountability in Primary and General Elections

Co-PI: Pia Raffler, Yale University

This study seeks to assess the role of information in the selection of effective politicians in the context of the 2015 primary elections and 2016 general elections in Uganda. In this project, we record a question-and-answer session, termed "Meet the Candidates," with nearly 100 candidates for Member of Parliament (MP) in party primary and general elections across 11 constituencies. Candidates are asked about their background and experience, policy preferences, and plans for office. Meet the Candidates videos are then screened in the candidates’ constituencies in the weeks prior to the elections. Household surveys are conducted with over 10,000 respondents across the two elections. Results from existing research on the effect of information on political behavior have been mixed, identifying effects of information on vote choice, knowledge, and turnout in some places and not others. While there are several potential explanations for the divergence in findings, we focus on two factors: the political environment and the public vs. private provision of information. In particular, we contrast the effect of information on voter behavior in a) intra- (primary) versus inter- party (multiparty) electoral environments and b) in public versus private settings. This study is one of seven projects in the first EGAP (Experiments in Governance and Politics) Metaketa Initiative.