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Research Insight: Candidate Selection and Accountability in Sierra Leone


This EDI Research Insight publishes early stage results from a study designed to explore questions about  representation, accountability and performance among government officials in Sierra Leone.

As in many developing countries, in Sierra Leone the process of selecting candidates often caters to the elite and lacks direct input from ordinary voters, which raises questions about representation and accountability. In response, researchers designed an evaluation to measure the efficacy of an intervention that informs party executives about the qualifications and policy visions of “aspirants,” or potential candidates, during the primary selection stage, as well as which aspirant the local voters would most like the party to select to be the candidate for their constituency. In a separate but related evaluation, researchers built on a successful pilot to explore the link between a poorly informed electorate and weak accountability pressure in the general election.

This Research Insight is based on the EDI Randomised Control Trial on “Politician entry, selection and performance in Sierra Leone”.


  • Katherine Casey
  • Rachel Glennerster
  • Abou Bakarr Kamara
  • Niccoló Meriggi

Research partners:

  • Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)
  • International Growth Centre (IGC)
  • National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone
  • Political Parties Registration Commission of Sierra Leone
  • Search for Common Ground
  • Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL)

Related Information:


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