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

58 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2016  

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 Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 19, 2016

Abstract

A Ugandan government program allowed groups of young people to submit proposals to start skilled enterprises. Among 535 eligible proposals, the government randomly selected 265 to receive grants of nearly $400 per person. Blattman et al. (2014) showed that, after four years, the program raised employment by 17% and earnings 38%. This paper shows that, rather than rewarding the government in elections, beneficiaries increased opposition party membership, campaigning, and voting. Higher incomes are associated with opposition support, and we hypothesize that financial independence frees the poor to express political preferences publicly, being less reliant on patronage and other political transfers.

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 (December 19, 2016). 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 Economics ( email )

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