Howard White Lecture

Policy deliberation and voter persuasion: estimating intrinsic causal effects of town hall meetings

Venue: John Snow (A) Lecture Theatre, LSHTM
Date:  11 April, 17:30 to 19:00

Prof Leonard Wantchekon

Founder, Institute for Empirical Research in Political Economy, Benin; and Professor of Politics and affiliate, Economics Department at Princeton University

This year’s 3ie London Evidence Week began with the Howard White Lecture 2016 by Leonard Wantchekon who spoke on his work around extending policy evaluation into political economy. Wantchekon drew attention to the lack of rigorous analysis of institutions involved in the political process of policymaking and made a strong case for more impact evaluations in the political sphere. He elaborated on his research on the impacts of town hall meetings on the electoral process in Benin and in The Philippines. Wantchekon described the voter engagement interventions, where people deliberated over platforms proposed by candidates in party-endorsed town hall meetings. These types of meetings proved to have an impact on voter turnout and vote share. Wantchekon concluded his talk with a few critical observations: deliberative campaigns can limit the electoral appeal of clientelism, such campaign strategies seemed to find favour with voters during polls, and it is better to choose interventions that are a part of local traditions to change the behaviour patterns of politicians rather than adopt trends and practices adopted from other countries or regions.

Watch the third Howard White Lecture by professor Leonard Wantchekon

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 Listen to his views on the importance of evaluation in public policymaking and the role of 3ie in facilitating impact evaluations

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