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Government Transfers and Political Support


  • Marco Manacorda
  • Edward Miguel
  • Andrea Vigorito


We estimate the impact of a large anti-poverty program - the Uruguayan PANES - on political support for the government that implemented it. The program mainly consisted of a monthly cash transfer for a period of roughly two and half years. Using the discontinuity in program assignment based on a pre-treatment score, we find that beneficiary households are 21 to 28 percentage points more likely to favor the current government (relative to the previous government). Impacts on political support are larger among poorer households and for those near the center of the political spectrum, consistent with the probabilistic voting model in political economy. Effects persist after the cash transfer program ends. We estimate that the annual cost of increasing government political support by 1 percentage point is roughly 0.9% of annual government social expenditures.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Manacorda & Edward Miguel & Andrea Vigorito, 2009. "Government Transfers and Political Support," CEP Discussion Papers dp0912, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0912

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    More about this item


    Conditional cash transfers; redistributive politics; voting; regression discontinuity;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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