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The local electoral impacts of conditional cash transfers: Evidence from a field experiment

  • Julien Labonne
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    I develop and test two competing models assessing the impacts of targeted government transfers on a local incumbent’s electoral performance. I take advantage of the randomized roll-out of a large-scale Conditional Cash Transfer program in the Philippines, which offers an ideal setting to test the models. Although the program was usually implemented in all villages in a municipality, a subset of beneficiary municipalities were randomly selected to receive the program in a randomly selected subset of villages. I find that, in a competitive political environment, incumbent vote share is 26 percentage points higher in municipalities in which the program was implemented in all villages than in municipalities in which the program was implemented in half of the villages. The program had no impact in municipalities with low levels of political competition. Further, within municipalities, there is evidence consistent with the argument that incumbents compensated households in control villages by redistributing their own budget there. Results suggest that anti-poverty programs might have nefarious long-term consequences by preventing replacements of local incumbents.

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    File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/workingpapers/pdfs/csae-wps-2012-09.pdf
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    Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2012-09.

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    Date of creation: 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2012-09
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    1. Oskar Nupia, 2011. "Anti-Poverty Programs and Presidential Election Outcomes: Familias en Acción in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 008743, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    2. Brollo, Fernanda & Nannicini, Tommaso & Perotti, Roberto & Tabellini, Guido, 2010. "The Political Resource Curse," IZA Discussion Papers 4706, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Manacorda, Marco & Miguel, Edward & Vigorito, Andrea, 2009. "Government Transfers and Political Support," Center for International and Development Economics Research, Working Paper Series qt9n42t9sw, Center for International and Development Economics Research, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    4. Manuela Angelucci & Giacomo De Giorgi, 2009. "Indirect Effects of an Aid Program: How Do Cash Transfers Affect Ineligibles' Consumption?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 486-508, March.
    5. Adriana Camacho & Emily Conover, 2009. "Manipulation of Social Program Eligibility: Detection, Explanations and Consequences for Empirical Research," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 006211, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    6. Sakurai, Sergio Naruhiko & Menezes, Naercio, 2010. "Opportunistic and Partisan Election Cycles in Brazil: New Evidence at the Municipal Level," Insper Working Papers wpe_208, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
    7. Lakshmi Iyer, 2005. "Direct versus Indirect Colonial Rule in India: Long-term Consequences," Harvard Business School Working Papers 05-041, Harvard Business School, revised Nov 2008.
    8. de Janvry, Alain & Gonzalez-Navarro, Marco & Sadoulet, Elisabeth, 2014. "Are land reforms granting complete property rights politically risky? Electoral outcomes of Mexico's certification program," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 216-225.
    9. Mark P. Jones & Osvaldo Meloni & Mariano Tommasi, 2012. "Voters as Fiscal Liberals: Incentives and Accountability in Federal Systems," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(2), pages 135-156, 07.
    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, 6.
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