Elections and Governance

Technology provides exciting new opportunities to empower citizens to participate in the political process. PDEL projects have developed new software tools that encourage citizens to run for office, permit them to be part of the election-monitoring process and crowd source novel forms of information on political outcomes from the voters themselves.

Faculty Projects

Remote Monitoring of Competition between Government Service Providers

Remote Monitoring of Competition between Government Service Providers

Researchers: Karthik Muralidharan, Paul Niehaus
Location: India

Overview: A call center is used to enhance the ability to measure the impacts of a large-scale randomized controlled trial on cash transfers and food security in Bihar, India. The call center also provides a mechanism to push information to beneficiaries about changes in program parameters (e.g. food stamp prices) and to coach them through the process of opening bank accounts, which are for most, their first formal accounts.

Mobile Monitoring for Elections

Mobile Monitoring for Elections

Researcher: Clark Gibson
Location: Kenya

Overview: This project aims to redesign how citizens can hold their politicians accountable through free and fair elections. It refines a smartphone application to enable citizens to monitor elections in real time using digital image collection and cloud-based computing.

Voter Turnout in South Africa

Voter Turnout in South Africa

Researcher: Clark Gibson
Location: South Africa

Overview: Short message service (SMS) blasts are used to increase voter turnout in South Africa, the first get-out-the-vote experiment conducted in a developing country. The project tests whether African turnout reflects not just direct mobilizing efforts of parties and official electoral organizations, but also social pressures to vote.

Providing Voters with Information on Politicians’ Performance in Benin

Providing Voters with Information on Politicians’ Performance in Benin

Researchers: Claire Adida, Jessica Gottlieb (Texas A&M), Gwyneth McClendon (Harvard), Eric Kramon (George Washington University)
Location: Benin

Overview: Through this study, we hope to better understand the contexts under which information about politician performance affects citizens’ political behavior.

Measuring Service Provision in Somalia

Measuring Service Provision in Somalia

Researchers: Jesse Driscoll, Nicholai Lidow
Location: Somalia

Overview: This project demonstrates the potential of using long-distance survey methods as a supplement to follow-up surveys on the ground, an especially important tool in conflict and post-conflict settings.

Election Violence and Voting in Emerging Democracies

Election Violence and Voting in Emerging Democracies

Researchers: Clark Gibson, Karen Ferree, James Long
Location: Kenya

Overview: Our researchers study the effects of election violence in shaping voting behavior and other political attitudes and perceptions of citizens in Kenya.

Dynamic Monitoring of Political Networks, Censorship and Propaganda in China

Dynamic Monitoring of Political Networks, Censorship and Propaganda in China

Researcher: Molly Roberts
Location: China

Overview: New technology will be developed to dynamically identify strategies and motivations of leaders in Chinese politics, including the detection of political propaganda, political censorship and political networks on a daily basis from large-scale analysis of open-source documents on the Chinese web.

Decentralized Media Production in Ukraine

Decentralized Media Production in Ukraine

Researcher: Jesse Driscoll
Location: Ukraine

Overview: Systematic data will be collected on the characteristics of people who participated in the “Euromaidan” campaign virtually through Twitter. The study on the use of social media in these events would contribute to understanding how technological changes facilitate contentious politics.

Graduate Student Projects

Using mobile phones to encourage citizen candidates to run for office in the Philippines

Using mobile phones to encourage citizen candidates to run for office in the Philippines

Researchers: Cesi Cruz, Michael Davidson
Location: Philippines

Overview: The exploration of how technology can be used to increase participation in local elections will be addressed. Deployed during the 2013 village elections in the Philippines, the project uses a custom-built SMS system to collect data on who citizens believed should run for local office but were not currently planning on running, then encourage these nominated individuals to run for office.

Faculty

PDEL