Performance-Based Voting

Much of the scholarly and policy debate on electoral accountability rests on the assumption that voters are more likely to support a particular candidate if they expect that this candidate will perform well in office. We refer to this as “performance-based voting”. Do voters in Burkina Faso make performance-based choices, when it comes to electing their municipal governments?

To find out, we have carried out two studies:

  • A conjoint choice experiment with 2118 respondents in six regions of Burkina Faso. The study focused on voters demand for information about the qualification or performance of electoral candidates. We investigate if certain dimensions of candidate differentiation, for example along ethnic identity, are so powerful that voters lose interest in any other information about the candidates.
  • A voter information experiment in 38 rural municipalities that had been controlled by the same party since the 2006 elections. The experimental treatment varied study participants’ access to information about their municipal government’s performance at delivering local public services, while holding their knowledge of the service delivery targets constant. This study is part of a coordinated research initiative in five countries, the EGAP Metaketa Program on Information and Accountability.