Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Research Seminar Series (RSS)

Government Transfers and Political Support

Friday, April 17, 2009 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm

Center for Global Development
and The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies present
a Massachusetts Avenue Development Seminar (MADS)* on
Government Transfers and Political Support

Ted Miguel 
Department of Economics, University of California at Berkeley 

With discussants
Madiha Afzal 
School of Public Policy, University of Maryland 

Anders Olofsgård 
School of Foreign Service and Department of Economics, Georgetown University 

Friday, April 17, 2009
Lunch will be served

Center for Global Development
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Third Floor, Washington,DC
Closest Metro
: Dupont Circle (Red Line)

Abstract: We estimate the impact of a large anti-poverty program--the Uruguayan PANES--on political support for the government that implemented it. The program mainly consisted of a monthly cash transfer for a period of roughly two and half years. Using the discontinuity in program assignment based on a pre-treatment score, we find that beneficiary households are 21 to 28 percentage points more likely to favor the current government (relative to the previous government). Impacts on political support are larger among poorer households and for those near the center of the political spectrum, consistent with the probabilistic voting model in political economy. Effects persist after the cash transfer program ends. We estimate that the annual cost of increasing government political support by 1 percentage point is roughly 0.9% of annual government social expenditures.

Access Miguel's paper (pdf, 296K)


*The Massachusetts Avenue Development Seminar (MADS) series is an effort by the Center for Global Development and The Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies to take advantage of the incredible concentration of great international development scholars in the Metro Washington, DC area. The series seeks to bring together members of this community and improve communication between them.