Spotlight: A Field Experiment on Media Coverage and Local Governance
Does media attention improve local governance? In collaboration with two Tanzanian District Commissioners and two local radio stations, I propose to pilot a novel field experiment to assess the impact of investigative media reports on village water service delivery in rural Tanzania. The core of the experiment will randomize villages to receive visits from investigative radio journalists, who will record 30-minute radio segments about rural water service challenges featuring interviews with concerned community members. I propose a 2x2 factorial design to test two mechanisms of media influence: informing political authorities of service delivery failures and citizen needs, and incentivizing political responsiveness by widely publicizing local grievances. The pilot will implement the treatments in 60 villages, with support from government and NGO partners for a larger scale implementation based on the results.