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

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  • Julien Labonne

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Julien Labonne, 2012. "The local electoral impacts of conditional cash transfers: Evidence from a field experiment," CSAE Working Paper Series 2012-09, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  • Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2012-09
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    File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/materials/papers/csae-wps-2012-09.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Azam Chaudhry & Kate Vyborny, 2013. "Patronage in Rural Punjab: Evidence from a New Household Survey Dataset," Lahore Journal of Economics, Department of Economics, The Lahore School of Economics, vol. 18(Special E), pages 183-209, September.
    2. Brosio, Giorgio, 2014. "Decentralization and Public Service Delivery in Asia," ADB Economics Working Paper Series 389, Asian Development Bank.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Elections; Conditional Cash Transfers; Decentralization;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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