Joonseok Yang, Tom Moerenhout

Information campaigns and public perceptions of structural reforms: Evidence from a survey experiment on gasoline subsidy reform in Nigeria

  • Public Administration
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Business, Management and Accounting

AbstractGovernments often reform financial policies, such as industrial subsidies taxes and currency exchange rates, during times of fiscal distress. Existing studies suggest that information campaigns can improve popular support for policy reforms that promise longer term macroeconomic growth but come with short‐term financial costs to people's livelihoods. This article assesses the effects of information campaigns on the acceptance of fossil fuel subsidy reforms in Nigeria, a type of fiscal reform that many developing countries may adopt in the coming years. A randomized survey experiment imbedded in a nationally representative survey of Nigerian households investigates whether information interventions lead Nigerians to change their opinion on fossil fuel subsidy reforms. We find that merely providing factual information does not affect whether or not people support fossil fuel subsidy reforms. Moreover, we find that factual information helps supporters articulate their preferences and weakens the propensity of opponents to use wrongful information to justify their position.

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