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The Tragedy of Clientelism: Opting Children Out


  • Ronconi, Lucas

    () (Centro de Investigación y Acción Social (CIAS))

  • Zarazaga, Rodrigo

    () (Centro de Investigación y Acción Social (CIAS))


Governments in new democracies launch social policies with the purported goal of alleviating the effects of poverty among the most vulnerable households, usually low income families with children. However, this goal is can be thwarted by the clientelistic distribution of social policies' benefits because politicians seek to maximize political support and children do not vote. Based on the main Argentine household survey and on personal interviews with 120 brokers, this paper shows that brokers collect information on family size and age composition and allocate temporary public works programs that are in excess demand discriminating against families with children not old enough to vote.

Suggested Citation

  • Ronconi, Lucas & Zarazaga, Rodrigo, 2017. "The Tragedy of Clientelism: Opting Children Out," IZA Discussion Papers 10973, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10973

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:99:y:2005:i:03:p:315-325_05 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Rodrigo Zarazaga, 2016. "Party machines and voter-customized rewards strategies," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 28(4), pages 678-701, October.
    4. Fisman, Ray & Golden, Miriam A., 2017. "Corruption: What Everyone Needs to Know," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780190463977.
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    More about this item


    clientelism; household; discrimination; social policy; Latin America; Argentina;

    JEL classification:

    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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