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Distributive Politics and Conditional Cash Transfers: The Case of Brazil’s Bolsa Família

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  • Fried, Brian J.

Abstract

Brazilian politicians have long relied on pork and clientelism to win political support, and recent literature suggests that little has changed. However, researchers have yet to systematically investigate whether political criteria influence the distribution of funds through Bolsa Família. This is especially surprising given the program’s prominence in the international community. In this paper, I examine whether political criteria explain the federal government’s distribution of Bolsa Família. I find little evidence that political criteria explain the difference between the number of poor families that live in a municipality and the number of families that receive support. I conclude by discussing the broader significance of this large, programmatic policy to Brazil’s political development.

Suggested Citation

  • Fried, Brian J., 2012. "Distributive Politics and Conditional Cash Transfers: The Case of Brazil’s Bolsa Família," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 1042-1053.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:40:y:2012:i:5:p:1042-1053
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2011.09.022
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    Cited by:

    1. Hugo Consciência Silvestre, 2017. "Themed Issue: Cash Transfers and Microfinance," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 35(5), pages 703-720, September.
    2. De Santis, Mariana & Caggia, Mauricio, 2017. "Preferencias por la distribución del ingreso. Un análisis empírico para Argentina entre 1995 y 2012 [Preferences for the distribution of income. An empirical analisys for Argentina between 1995 and," MPRA Paper 96579, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Casas, Agustin, 2020. "The electoral benefits of unemployment, clientelism and distributive politics," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    4. Frey, Anderson, 2019. "Cash transfers, clientelism, and political enfranchisement: Evidence from Brazil," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 1-17.
    5. Akerkar, Supriya & Joshi, P.C. & Fordham, Maureen, 2016. "Cultures of Entitlement and Social Protection: Evidence from Flood Prone Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 46-58.
    6. Armando Barrientos & Juan Miguel Villa, 2014. "Economic and political inclusion of human development conditional transfer programmes in Latin America?," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 20014, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    7. Eric ROUGIER & François COMBARNOUS & Yves-André FAURE, 2017. "The ‘local economy’ effect of social transfers: A municipality-level analysis of the local growth impact of the Bolsa Familia Programme in the Brazilian Nordeste," Cahiers du GREThA (2007-2019) 2017-09, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée (GREThA).
    8. Rougier, Eric & Combarnous, François & Fauré, Yves-André, 2018. "The “Local Economy” Effect of Social Transfers: An Empirical Assessment of the Impact of the Bolsa Família Program on Local Productive Structure and Economic Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 199-215.
    9. Luca, Davide, 2016. "Votes and Regional Economic Growth: Evidence from Turkey," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 477-495.
    10. Paola Pena, 2014. "The Politics of the diffusion of Conditional Cash Transfers in Latin America," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 20114, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    11. Michaël Aklin & Patrick Bayer & S. Harish & Johannes Urpelainen, 2014. "Who blames corruption for the poor enforcement of environmental laws? Survey evidence from Brazil," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 16(3), pages 241-262, July.
    12. Armando Barrientos & Dario Debowicz & Ingrid Woolard, 2014. "Antipoverty Transfers and Inclusive Growth in Brazil," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series iriba_wp04, GDI, The University of Manchester.
    13. Mccourt, Willy, 2012. "Can Top-Down and Bottom-Up be Reconciled? Electoral Competition and Service Delivery in Malaysia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(11), pages 2329-2341.
    14. Armando Barrientos, "undated". "Human Development Income Transfers in the Longer Term," Working Papers 116, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    15. Chau, Nancy H. & Liu, Yanyan & Soundararajan, Vidhya, 2021. "Political activism as a determinant of strategic transfers: Evidence from an indian public works program," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 132(C).
    16. Dyzenhaus, Alex, 2021. "Patronage or policy? The politics of property rights formalization in Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 146(C).

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