Can Elections Motivate Responsiveness in a Single-Party Regime? Experimental Evidence from Vietnam

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<jats:p>A growing body of evidence attests that legislators are sometimes responsive to the policy preferences of citizens in single-party regimes, yet debate surrounds the mechanisms driving this relationship. We experimentally test two potential responsiveness mechanisms—elections versus mandates from party leaders—by provisioning delegates to the Vietnamese National Assembly with information on the policy preferences of their constituents and reminding them of either (1) the competitiveness of the upcoming 2021 elections or (2) a central decree that legislative activities should reflect constituents’ preferences. Consistent with existing work, delegates informed of citizens’ preferences are more likely to speak on the parliamentary floor and in closed-session caucuses. Importantly, we find that such responsiveness is entirely driven by election reminders; upward incentive reminders have virtually no effect on behavior.</jats:p>






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Malesky, EJ, JD Todd and ANH Tran (2022). Can Elections Motivate Responsiveness in a Single-Party Regime? Experimental Evidence from Vietnam. American Political Science Review. pp. 1–21. 10.1017/s0003055422000879 Retrieved from

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Edmund Malesky

Professor of Political Science

Malesky is a specialist on Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam. Currently, Malesky's research agenda is very much at the intersection of Comparative and International Political Economy, falling into three major categories: 1) Authoritarian political institutions and their consequences; 2) The political influence of foreign direct investment and multinational corporations; and 3) Political institutions, private business development, and formalization.


Jason Douglas Todd

Assistant Professor of Political Science at Duke Kunshan University

I am an Assistant Professor at Duke Kunshan University, where I teach political science and public policy. I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from Duke University in 2020.

My research spans the fields of American and comparative politics to examine how political institutions shape the law, whether that be through the legislators who make it or the judges who interpret it. This work considers a broad array of topics, including legal citation networks, polarization in judicial opinions, judicial confirmations, congressional and state legislative committees, and responsiveness in authoritarian legislatures. I am also engaged in a book project concerning the U.S. Supreme Court and its role atop the federal judicial hierarchy, which I approach through the lens of the Court’s case selection process. Throughout this work, I employ a broad array of methodological approaches, including text-as-data, networks, simulation studies, field experiments, and archival work.

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