27 September 2011

Social Protection or Political Patronage?

Marco Manacorda, Ed Miguel, and Andrea Vigorito put a working paper out a couple of years ago showing a relationship between receipt of a Uruguayan government cash transfer scheme, and political support for the governing party. Which pretty much makes sense. 
we find that beneficiary households are 21 to 28 percentage points more likely to favor the  current government (relative to the previous government) ... 
Back-of-the envelope calculations suggest that securing  one extra supporter costs the government on the order of US$2,000 per year, or one third of national GDP per capita (though this estimate is an upper bound cost if political impacts persist after the program has ended).
 Which is fine. Government-funded social protection buys political support.

So what does aid-financed social protection buy? Does it depend on who delivers the program? Hopefully GiveDirectly.org can work this into their RCT.

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