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Motivating Political Candidacy and Performance: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan

Jun 2018
Stanford King Center on Global Development Working Paper
By  Saad Gulzar, Muhammad Yasir Khan

In developing countries, political office is considered the domain of the privileged. We show that political mobilization of randomly sampled citizens increases their candidacy rate five-fold. In addition, the way in which politics is portrayed during mobilization matters. If social benefits of office - such as the ability to help others - are publicly highlighted, candidacy increased and performance, as measured by the alignment of village spending with citizens' preferences one year after elections, improves. In contrast, when personal benefits - like respect and status - are publicly highlighted, candidacy goes down and village spending is more misaligned.