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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)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 1-28

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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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  1. Mikael Elinder & Henrik Jordahl & Panu Poutvaara, 2008. "Selfish and Prospective. Theory and Evidence of Pocketbook Voting," Discussion Papers 40, Aboa Centre for Economics.
  2. Rafael Di Tella & Sebastian Galiani & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2007. "The Formation of Beliefs: Evidence from the Allocation of Land Titles to Squatters," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(1), pages 209-241, 02.
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  7. Case, Anne, 2001. "Election goals and income redistribution: Recent evidence from Albania," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(3), pages 405-423, March.
  8. David S. Lee & David Card, 2006. "Regression Discontinuity Inference with Specification Error," NBER Technical Working Papers 0322, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. César Martinelli & Susan W. Parker, 2006. "Deception and Misreporting in a Social Program," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000120, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  12. John DiNardo & David S. Lee, 2004. "Economic Impacts of New Unionization On Private Sector Employers: 1984-2001," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1383-1441, November.
  13. David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2007. "Cash-On-Hand and Competing Models of Intertemporal Behavior: New Evidence from the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1511-1560, November.
  14. Dahlberg, Matz & Johansson, Eva, 1999. "On the Vote Purchasing Behavior of Incumbent Governments," Working Paper Series 1999:24, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  15. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  16. Laura B. Rawlings, 2005. "Evaluating the Impact of Conditional Cash Transfer Programs," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 20(1), pages 29-55.
  17. Simonsohn, Uri & Karlsson, Niklas & Loewenstein, George & Ariely, Dan, 2008. "The tree of experience in the forest of information: Overweighing experienced relative to observed information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 263-286, January.
  18. Avinash Dixit & John Londregan, 1998. "Ideology, Tactics, And Efficiency In Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(2), pages 497-529, May.
  19. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  20. Levitt, Steven D & Snyder, James M, Jr, 1997. "The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 30-53, February.
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  22. Cole, Shawn & Healy, Andrew & Werker, Eric, 2012. "Do voters demand responsive governments? Evidence from Indian disaster relief," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 167-181.
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