We present results of a randomized field experiment where voters in Tanzania were given information about elite use of tax havens. Information provided in a neutral form had no effect, while information phrased in more morally charged terms led to a reduction in voting intentions. Rather than increase the perceived importance of voting, charged information tends to undermine confidence in political institutions and the social contract. The effects are particularly pronounced among the less well off, indicating that increased transparency in the absence of perceived agency may not improve political participation.

See also: