Political Violence and Social Networks: Experimental Evidence from a Nigerian Election

Abstract

Political accountability and participation are taken as key ingredients for development. In this context, voter education and informational campaigns are becoming popular with donors. We followed a large-scale randomized campaign against electoral violence spnsored by an international NGO during the 2007 Nigerian elections. Substantial direct effects on perceptions about violence and voting behaviour are reported for this campaign. This paper is devoted to the assessment of the network effects of this intervention. Comprehensive measurement of the links between households allows us to estimate reinforcement effects of the treated subjects in campaign locations, and diffusion effects on untreated subjects in campaign locations. These effects are derived with reference to suitable comparison groups in untreated locations. We find evidence for both network effects using different estimation techniques. The importance of kinship and geographical distance in spreading perceptions associated with the campaign is reported. Clear network effects on behaviour are not found.

Citation

CSAE Economics Department, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK. CSAE WPS/2009-14, 46 pp.

Political Violence and Social Networks: Experimental Evidence from a Nigerian Election

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