Partisanship and Public Opinion on Cash Transfers: Survey Evidence From Kenya
45 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2019 Last revised: 23 Nov 2020
Date Written: November 30, 2019
Existing research finds significant partisan differences in public opinion on the causes of poverty, deservingness of government assistance, and support for government spending on social protection. However, much of the evidence comes from middle-to-high-income countries with established social welfare programs. With material evidence from Kenya, this paper interrogates how partisanship conditions public opinion on the causes of poverty, deservingness of assistance, and how cash transfer programs ought to be financed. I find minimal partisan differences in perceptions of the causes of poverty and deservingness, but significant differences in opinions about how cash transfers ought to be financed. In particular, supporters of the incumbent president are more likely to support increasing taxes to finance these programs compared to opposition supporters. These findings suggest that partisan differences about social spending may exist even in contexts where there are no significant differences on the causes of poverty and deservingness.
Keywords: Distributive Politics, Social Protection, Cash Transfers, Africa, Kenya
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