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

  • Fried, Brian J.
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    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.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305750X11002440
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal World Development.

    Volume (Year): 40 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 1042-1053

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:40:y:2012:i:5:p:1042-1053
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/worlddev

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    1. 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, March.
    2. James A. Robinson & Thierry Verdier, 2013. "The Political Economy of Clientelism," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 115(2), pages 260-291, 04.
    3. Fabio Veras Soares & Rafael Perez Ribas & Rafael Guerreiro Osório, 2007. "Evaluating the Impact of Brazil?s Bolsa Família: Cash Transfer Programmes in Comparative Perspective," Publications 1, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
    4. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
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