Intended and unintended consequences of democracy promotion assistance to Georgia after the Rose Revolution


What are the political consequences of democratization assistance to regimes transitioning from authoritarian rule? By exploiting the downstream effects of a field experiment designed to encourage citizen monitoring of Georgia’s 2008 parliamentary elections, we evaluate the political consequences of one type of democracy promotion aid. The intervention increased citizen activism, but it also had the unanticipated effect of suppressing overall voter turnout by approximately 5%. We hypothesize that the civic education campaign was interpreted as a sign of increased political attention to a selected voting precinct, which suppressed opposition turnout. Two additional experiments provide additional evidence for the hypothesis.

Research & Politics