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Do Anti-Poverty Programs Sway Voters? Experimental Evidence from Uganda

61 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2016 Last revised: 10 Oct 2017

Christopher Blattman

University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Mathilde Emeriau

Stanford University

Nathan Fiala

University of Connecticut - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 5, 2017

Abstract

Policies that change economic and social outcomes for citizens may not always lead to support for the political party that introduced the policy. In 2008, under the Youth Opportunities Program, the Ugandan government encouraged groups of young people to submit proposals to start enterprises. Among the 535 groups whose proposals were deemed eligible, a random 265 received grants of nearly $400 per person. A companion paper showed that, after four years, YOP raised employment by 17% and earnings by 38%. Here, we show that YOP recipients were no more likely to support the ruling party in elections. Rather, recipients slightly increased party membership, campaigning, and voting in favor of the opposition parties. We discuss potential mechanisms for this effect, including misattribution of YOP, group socialization, and financial independence freeing voters from transactional voting.

Keywords: Political behavior, voting, partisanship, employment, labor market programs, poverty, cash transfers, Uganda, field experiment

JEL Classification: P16, D72, F35

Suggested Citation

Blattman, Christopher and Emeriau, Mathilde and Fiala, Nathan, Do Anti-Poverty Programs Sway Voters? Experimental Evidence from Uganda (October 5, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2887752 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2887752

Christopher Blattman (Contact Author)

University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Mathilde Emeriau

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Nathan Fiala

University of Connecticut - Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics ( email )

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