Is Information Power? Using Mobile Phones and Free Newspapers during an Election in Mozambique

The research presents a field experiment implemented  during elections in Mozambique, based on three interventions: an SMS civic education campaign centered on the elections, an SMS hotline to which citizens were able to report electoral misconduct, and the distribution of a free newspaper door-to-door focusing on voter education. The researchers found that all three of the treatments increased voter turnout as well as political knowledge.

The newspaper treatment also increased demands for accountability and reduced the occurrence of electoral problems that could be detected by independent observers.The field experiment provides reliable evidence that the media initiatives,especially the newspaper initiative, delivered many of its intended democratic benefits, namely it increased informed citizen participation and improved accountability.

Authors: Jenny Aker, Paul Collier, Pedro Vicente

Year Country Organisation Author Type
2013 Mozambique Aker, J. et al. academic paper
Theory of Change Keywords Download/link
Intermediate Outcome 2 accountability, citizen participation, elections, political knowledge, voter education Download/link