Study Results

Over the course of our seven-month study in 106 communities across the Niger Delta region in southeastern Nigeria, the corruption-reporting platform received 3,316 messages from 1,685 unique senders. In total, 1,181 unique senders texted in messages discussing corruption or the study’s campaigns, including 241 unique individuals who sent a concrete corruption report that made explicit mention of a corrupt act, person, or institution. As a benchmark, our 7-month study in 106 small southern Nigerian communities (for example, in urban neighborhoods as small as a quarter square mile) produced 1.7 times as many concrete corruption reports as one year of the previous nationwide corruption reporting campaign. People most commonly reported bribes and embezzlement perpetrated by politicians, law enforcement, and those in the education sector. Of the corruption-related messages, 86% arrived within the first 30 days after the campaigns began. 

Film: We received text messages from communities where we distributed the treatment version of the film, whereas we received almost no messages from the placebo communities. To test whether the treatment version of the film shifted viewers’ perceptions of social norms, we surveyed 1,399 randomly-sampled film viewers from our study population. We found that watching the film’s characters text about corruption shifted viewers’ perceptions of norms in their community, specifically that corruption, and anger about corruption, were widespread.

Text Blast: On the day the mass text message arrived, we observed an estimated increase of 5 corruption-related messages in each community, including 1 concrete corruption report per community. Afterward, we observed a steep decay such that three days later the effect of the campaign was very small (0.2 corruption-related messages per day in each community). The effects of the mass text message were not different in communities that received the placebo vs. treatment film.

The norms and nudge campaigns increased corruption reporting by text message.

Check out the full results in the Science Advances paper or in the policy brief.