fieldwork in são tomé and príncipe (west africa)

randomized experiment - 2006

I have designed, organized (including the recruitment and training of a local team of 11 collaborators), and conducted a Randomized Experiment on Vote Buying during the Presidential Elections of July 30th 2006.

This experiment included:

·        A Randomized Campaign sponsored by the National Electoral Commission of São Tomé and Príncipe (STP) in 40 census areas of STP;

·        Pre and Post-Election Panel Household Surveys, including 1034 interviews in 50 of the 149 census areas of STP.

This experiment was aimed at assessing the effects of the campaign, not only in terms of vote buying reports/perceptions, but also in terms of voting behavior (turnout, vote) by the panel of respondents. By proving that the campaign has effects on vote buying we are able to identify effects of vote buying on voting bahavior.


In the pre-election questionnaire we also gathered data on:

·        Quality of Public Services (Corruption), as a follow up of the 2004 survey;

·        Views on Scholarships for Higher Education;

·        Demand for Political Accountability (The Postcard Experiment) - see Cape Verde fieldwork for a description of procedures.

This page is intended to provide an introduction to my work in the Summer 2006.




Fieldwork (June-August, 2006):

·        Team and Institutional Support:


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Training Session in São Tomé city.


o   Christian Helmers, doctoral student at the Department of Economics at Oxford gave precious help during the training and pre-election survey.

o   I also had the pleasure to work with the following ladies and gentlemen:

§  Danilson Andrade;

§  Ângela Assunção;

§  Carlos Castro;

§  Abbdulay Costa;

§  Aurolise Dias;

§  Melissa Diogo;

§  Emir Lima;

§  Hélia Mandinga;

§  Celso Moreno;

§  Arlindo Penhor;

§  Edson Solé.

o   Crucial institutional support (namely for the campaign undertaken) came from National Electoral Commission, specifically by its president José Carlos Barreiros.

o   Other institutional support came from the Instituto Superior Politécnico of São Tomé and Príncipe (ISPSTP), represented by its director Lúcio Pinto, and from the National Institute of Statistics of STP, represented by Hélder Salvaterra, which approved/authorized the survey questionnaires and provided census area maps, to enable better sampling.

·        Pre-Election Survey Randomized Experiment and Post-Election Survey

o   Training took two weeks; each interviewer had a total (on average) of 10 hours of training in small groups of 2-3 people; training included lectures on the content and objectives of the questionnaires/campaign, answering the questionnaires, and piloting (at least once by interviewer) with a random person. These sessions took place in Residencial Avenida (my base).

§  Note that all questionnaires were submitted on Oxford-borrowed HP iPAQ handhelds (together with GPS bluetooth transmitters), through Pocket Survey software. We used 9 handheld machines (in the IT context I would like to thank Richard Payne at CSAE).

o   Maps of Treatment and Control Census Areas:



Map with the Sampled Areas (places visited in the survey) in São Tomé and Príncipe Islands - click for details.



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Front and back of the leaflet distributed in the Anti'Vote Buying Campaign.


§  This campaign was sponsored by the National Electoral Commission of STP.

§  The main slogan of the campaign was 'Do not let your conscience have a 'banho'*. Voting should be free and in good conscience'.

§  * 'banho' means vote buying (yes, it has a dedicated word in local language!) , literally 'bath' or 'shower' in Portuguese.

§  The front page of the leaflet featured several passages of the STP Constitution and Campaign Financing Law - main message: vote buying is against the STP law. The back page featured a drawing (targetting more illeterate population), where a voter, when offered money for his vote, says 'Vote buying... No way!'.

§  10,000 leaflets were distributed in 40 census areas of the country (on average one per household in these areas), primarily targetting our panel and their neighbors.

o   By the way, here are the two main candidates to the Presidential Elections in STP:


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The incumbent (Fradique de Menezes from MDFM-PCD) and the Challenger (Patrice Trovoada from ADI).


o   Photos

§  Campaigning


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Roça Lembá, Plancas II, Boa Entrada, and Neves - Bengá

Our tireless and fearless specialist on campaigning (Arlindo Penhor) can be seen in action in the central point of Neves - Bengá.


§  Surveying


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Pre-election survey:

Boa Entrada (Aurolise, Melissa, Danilson), Bela Vista (Hélia), Praia das Conchas (Hélia), Santa Jeny (Aurolise), Milagrosa (Aurolise),

 Post-election survey from *:

Kilombo and Quinta de Sto António (Edson and Abbdulay), Água Arroz (Edson), Praia Lochinga (Edson), on the way to Santa Jeny, Santo António - Príncipe (Edson).


§  General


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Roça Boa Entrada and Roça Bela Vista


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Água Izé, Neves-Bengá (in the pre-election survey it was essential to mark the location of each surveyed household in the census area maps), and Roça Lembá.


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Actual campaigning by the incumbent in Neves and a polling station in Pantufo.


·        Media Attention:

o   National Television Station (Sao Tome e Principe) - Televisão de Sao Tome e Principe TVS - piece based on distributed press note and interview broadcasted in the first half of the main prime-time news at 8pm (16/07/06)

o   National Radio Station (Sao Tome and Principe) - interviewed in their Sao Tome studio, broadcasted later that day (18/07/06)

o   Portuguese Radio State Channel broadcasting in Africa - RDP Africa - based on an interview (02/08/06)

o   Portuguese TV State Channel broadcasting in Africa - RTP Africa - piece based on a full-day of survey coverage including interview broadcasted in their African News programme at four different times during 4 days - this is available at YOUTUBE (first: 09/08/06)


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Interview for RTP Africa in Neves.


o   Magazine Revista Nacional de Imprensa Africa (Sao Tome and Principe) - news based on distributed press note and interview with TVS (19/07/06)


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o   Newspaper Correio da Semana - news based on interview (22/07/06) - click for details:


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o   Portuguese News Agency LUSA - news based on an interview (30/07/06) - click for details:



·        The Postcards:

o   Please see Cape Verde description for details. The STP version of the postcard was:


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·        Final Note:

o   This research was funded through the CSAE, Department of Economics, University of Oxford. In that context I thank Paul Collier.