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Title:Electoral campaigns as learning opportunities: lessons from Uganda
Author:Conroy-Krutz, Jeffrey
Year:2016
Periodical:African affairs: the journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Volume:115
Issue:460
Pages:516-540
Language:English
Geographic term:Uganda
Subjects:election campaigns
2010
access to information
social inequality
Link:http://afraf.oxfordjournals.org/content/115/460/516.abstract
Abstract:While scholars have studied various aspects of election campaigns, they have not examined their effects on political knowledge in Africa. Since many problems are blamed on information scarcity, campaign-related learning could affect democratic development positively. This article focuses on the case of Uganda, using unique panel data from the 2010-11 campaign. The author finds that knowledge on office holders, candidates, and institutions increased significantly over the campaign. Importantly, these increases were not concentrated amongst the previously privileged, but also occurred amongst often-disadvantaged groups, such as women, the poor, the less-educated, and rural dwellers. In fact, the campaign seems to have diminished, although not eliminated, pre-existing knowledge gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged populations. It does not appear that Ugandans learned because the campaign made them more excited about politics, but rather because they were exposed to political communications, door-to-door canvassing, and increasingly politicized media content. Finally, knowledge increases are significantly correlated with increased criticism of institutions, but not with increased support for democracy or participation. While we cannot generalize to the rest of the continent, given that interest in a non-competitive campaign like Uganda's might be relatively limited, we might expect similar or larger learning effects in more-democratic settings. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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