conducting a field experiment to assess the impact of information on female turnout and independence of candidate choice. The setting for the experiment is rural Pakistan where women still face significant barriers to effective political participation, despite legislative reforms aimed at enhancing female participation in public life (Zia and Bari, 1999).
In the light of these findings, would political parties be inclined to step-up their voter outreach campaigns? – In this study, the vote-share of the losing political party seems to have gone up as a result of the information campaign intervention.
Do voters (men and women) truly understand that ‘every vote counts’? Or do they go out to vote only to reward, punish or under other patron-client relationships? – Is linked to the point above – if voters didn’t think that their vote counted, why would they have gone out and voted for the party that was almost sure to lose anywhichway?
Treated women also voted in larger numbers for PML-F which was seen as less likely to win, thereby changing the vote share of the losing party in sample polling stations. This is perhaps even more remarkable given that the field teams were mostly PPPP supporters. This suggests that the intervention empowered women and thus may have modified the rational calculus of voting (Downs, 1957) by including a utility gain from the mere act of voting (Riker and Ordeshook, 1968)