When Payouts Pay Off: Conditional Cash Transfers and Voting Behavior in Brazil 2002–10


  • Supplemental results, data, and syntax files for replication of results are available on the AJPS Dataverse (http://hdl.handle.net/1902.1/20257). Previous versions of this article and related work were presented at meetings of the American Political Science Association and the Political Studies Association-UK, and at seminars at the World Bank, Harvard Kennedy School, Yale, Columbia, Rutgers, Cornell, and Princeton. The author thanks participants at those venues as well as Barbara Geddes, Kosuke Imai, Maria Victoria Murillo, Kathy Lindert, Jeff Lewis, Tim Groseclose, Larry Bartels, Teppei Yamamoto, Leany Lemos, Noam Lupu, David Samuels, Bruno Camara Pinto, Ricardo Henriques, Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro, Susan Stokes, David Samuels, and Daniela Campello as well as anonymous reviewers for very constructive suggestions.


This article estimates the electoral effects of conditional cash transfers (CCTs) in three presidential elections in Brazil. It analyzes municipal-level electoral results and survey data and employs matching techniques to reduce causal inference problems typical of observational studies. Results show that CCTs are associated with increased performance by the incumbent party presidential candidate in all three elections but that these effects have been reaped by incumbents from different parties. It also shows that CCTs have had no discernible impacts on party identification and the performance of incumbent parties in legislative elections. Together, these findings suggest that CCTs are significant in the short run, but lack the capacity to induce substantial long-term voter realignments.