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

Jesse Driscoll, F Daniel Hidalgo


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.

  • Democracy promotion
  • semi-authoritarian regimes
  • experimental research

Article Notes

  • Supplementary Material The replication file is available at:

  • Declaration of conflicting interest The author declares that there is no conflict of interest.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work as published without adaptation or alteration, without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (

View Full Text