Since 2001, IERPE has conducted many experimental studies on presidential elections in Benin and efficient campaign methods. In 2015, IERPE studied the municipal elections and assessed whether competition within parties (primaries) can improve voter turnout and give incentives to parties to be more programmatic (campaign platforms based on projects and issues instead of clientelism, ethnicity and/or money). The research strategy applied a clustered randomized control trial with two treatment arms: (i) the first treatment group was exposed to a campaign strategy based exclusively on town hall meetings in which policy proposals made by candidates were unambiguous, informed by academic research, and followed by public deliberation; (ii) in the second treatment group, in addition to receiving treatment 1, the competing candidates were selected through primaries organized within each political party. The control group was exposed to standard campaign methods involving one-way communication of the candidate’s platform by himself or his local broker.
Sponsored by: Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA)