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The Dynamic Electoral Returns of a Large Anti-Poverty Program


  • Zimmermann, Laura


Short-term re-election strategies are widely used by governments around the world. This is problematic if governments can maximize their re-election chances by prioritizing short-term spending before an election over long-term reforms. This paper tests whether longer program exposure has a causal effect on election outcomes in the context of a large anti-poverty program in India. Using a regression-discontinuity framework, the results show that length of program exposure lowers electoral support for the government. The paper discusses a couple of potential explanations, finding that the most plausible mechanism is that voters hold the government accountable for the program's implementation quality.

Suggested Citation

  • Zimmermann, Laura, 2020. "The Dynamic Electoral Returns of a Large Anti-Poverty Program," GLO Discussion Paper Series 506, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:506

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Khanna, Gaurav & Zimmermann, Laura, 2017. "Guns and butter? Fighting violence with the promise of development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 120-141.
    2. Brigham R. Frandsen, 2017. "Party Bias in Union Representation Elections: Testing for Manipulation in the Regression Discontinuity Design when the Running Variable is Discrete," Advances in Econometrics, in: Matias D. Cattaneo & Juan Carlos Escanciano (ed.), Regression Discontinuity Designs, volume 38, pages 281-315, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
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    1. Odei Erdiaw-Kwasie, Michael & Abunyewah, Matthew & Edusei, Joseph & Buernor Alimo, Emmanuel, 2020. "Citizen participation dilemmas in water governance: An empirical case of Kumasi, Ghana," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 20(C).
    2. Belloc, Filippo & Burdin, Gabriel & Landini, Fabio, 2022. "Robots, Digitalization, and Worker Voice," GLO Discussion Paper Series 1038, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

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    More about this item


    election outcomes; voting behavior; accountability; India; anti-poverty programs;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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