Deliberation and Ethical Voting Behavior: Evidence from a Campaign Experiment in Benin

Leonard Wantchekon, J. E.N.N.Y. Guardado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article provides experimental evidence of the effect of candidate-citizen town-hall meetings on voters' political behavior. The intervention took place prior to the March 2011 elections in Benin and involved 150 randomly selected villages. In the treatment group, candidates held town-hall meetings where voters deliberated over their electoral platforms. The control group was exposed to the standard campaign - that is, one-way communication of the candidate's platform by himself or his local broker. We find that town-hall meetings led to a more informed citizenry and higher electoral participation, which diverged little along socioeconomic lines. We also observe a lower effectiveness of vote-buying attempts where town halls took place. This is consistent with town-hall deliberation promoting what we call more ethical voters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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