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Government Transfers and Political Support


  • Marco Manacorda
  • Edward Miguel
  • Andrea Vigorito


This paper estimates the impact of a large anti-poverty cash transfer program, the Uruguayan PANES, on political support for the government that implemented it. Using the discontinuity in program assignment based on a pretreatment eligibility score, we find that beneficiary households are 11 to 13 percentage points more likely to favor the current government relative to the previous government. Political support effects persist after the program ends. Our results are consistent with theories of rational but poorly informed voters who use policy to infer politicians' redistributive preferences or competence, as well as with behavioral economics explanations grounded in reciprocity. (JEL D72, H23, H53, I38, O15, O17)

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Manacorda & Edward Miguel & Andrea Vigorito, 2011. "Government Transfers and Political Support," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(3), pages 1-28, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:3:y:2011:i:3:p:1-28 Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.3.3.1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lemieux, Thomas & Milligan, Kevin, 2008. "Incentive effects of social assistance: A regression discontinuity approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 807-828, February.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements


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