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Conditional cash transfers, political participation, and voting behavior

  • Baez, Javier E.
  • Camacho, Adriana
  • Conover, Emily
  • Zarate, Roman A.

This paper estimates the effect of enrollment in a large scale anti-poverty program in Colombia, Familias en Accion, on intent to vote, turnout and electoral choice. For identification the analysis uses discontinuities in program eligibility and variation in program enrollment across voting booths. It finds that Familias en Accion had a positive effect on political participation in the 2010 presidential elections by increasing the probability that program beneficiaries registered to vote and cast a ballot, particularly among women. Regarding voter's choice, the authors find that program participants expressed a stronger preference for the official party that implemented and expanded the program. Overall, the findings show that voters respond to targeted transfers and that these transfers can foster support for incumbents, thus making the case for designing political and legislative mechanisms, as the laws recently passed by the Colombian government, that avoid successful anti-poverty schemes from being captured by political patronage.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6215.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6215
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  1. Guido Imbens & Karthik Kalyanaraman, 2012. "Optimal Bandwidth Choice for the Regression Discontinuity Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(3), pages 933-959.
  2. Drazen, Allan & Eslava, Marcela, 2010. "Electoral manipulation via voter-friendly spending: Theory and evidence," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 39-52, May.
  3. Marco Manacorda & Edward Miguel & Andrea Vigorito, 2009. "Government transfers and political support," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28519, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. Orazio Attanasio & Erich Battistin & Alice Mesnard, 2009. "Food and cash transfers: evidence from Colombia," IFS Working Papers W09/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Adriana Camacho & Emily Conover, 2011. "Manipulation of Social Program Eligibility," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 41-65, May.
  6. Gine, Xavier & Mansuri, Ghazala, 2011. "Together we will : experimental evidence on female voting behavior in Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5692, The World Bank.
  7. Oskar Nupia, 2011. "Anti-Poverty Programs and Presidential Election Outcomes: Familias en Acción in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 008743, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
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