Motivating Political Candidacy and Performance: Experimental Evidence from Pakistan
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.