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Voter Response to Peak and End Transfers: Evidence from a Conditional Cash Transfer Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Sebastian Galiani
  • Nadya Hajj
  • Patrick J. McEwan
  • Pablo Ibarrarán
  • Nandita Krishnaswamy

Abstract

In a Honduran field experiment, sequences of cash transfers to poor households varied in amount of the largest (peak) and last (end) transfers. Larger peak-end transfers increased voter turnout and the incumbent party's vote share in the 2013 presidential election, independently of cumulative transfers. A plausible explanation is that voters succumbed to a common cognitive bias by applying peak-end heuristics. Another is that voters deliberately used peak-end transfers to update beliefs about the incumbent party. In either case, the results provide experimental evidence on the classic non-experimental finding that voters are especially sensitive to recent economic activity.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Galiani & Nadya Hajj & Patrick J. McEwan & Pablo Ibarrarán & Nandita Krishnaswamy, 2019. "Voter Response to Peak and End Transfers: Evidence from a Conditional Cash Transfer Experiment," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 232-260, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:11:y:2019:i:3:p:232-60
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20170448
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Galiani, Sebastian & McEwan, Patrick J., 2013. "The heterogeneous impact of conditional cash transfers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 85-96.
    2. 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.
    3. Daniel Kahneman & Peter P. Wakker & Rakesh Sarin, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-406.
    4. Frederico Finan & Laura Schechter, 2012. "Vote‐Buying and Reciprocity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(2), pages 863-881, March.
    5. Fiorella Benedetti & Pablo Ibarrarán & Patrick J. McEwan, 2016. "Do Education and Health Conditions Matter in a Large Cash Transfer? Evidence from a Honduran Experiment," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64(4), pages 759-793.
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    7. Kosuke Imai & Gary King & Carlos Velasco Rivera, 2016. "Do Nonpartisan Programmatic Policies Have Partisan Electoral Effects? Evidence from Two Large Scale Randomized Experiments," Working Paper 366526, Harvard University OpenScholar.
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    9. Sarah Baird & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Berk Özler & Michael Woolcock, 2014. "Conditional, unconditional and everything in between: a systematic review of the effects of cash transfer programmes on schooling outcomes," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 1-43, January.
    10. Ariel Fiszbein & Norbert Schady & Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Margaret Grosh & Niall Keleher & Pedro Olinto & Emmanuel Skoufias, 2009. "Conditional Cash Transfers : Reducing Present and Future Poverty," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2597, August.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • 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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