The effects of conditional cash transfer programs on voting behaviour in Mexico and Brazil

Constantino-Echeverría, Pedro Rafael (2021) The effects of conditional cash transfer programs on voting behaviour in Mexico and Brazil. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

Since 1997, conditional cash transfer programmes (CCTs) have operated in several Latin American countries, highlighting the increased relevance of redistributive policies in the region’s political arena. The development of such CCTs has a number of political implications. Recent electoral results seem to indicate that the economic effects of poverty and lack of opportunities have influenced political choices: electoral behaviour seems to be determined by personal current economic situation which could be affected by CCTs.

This study aims to contribute to these debates and particularly to the literature on the effects of CCTs on voting behaviour by comparing the effects of the two largest CCTs in operation. The objectives of this work were to analyse the extent to which CCTs could have been used to shape the electoral behaviour of its beneficiaries. This work relies on retrospective voting theories in order to study the effectiveness of such programmes on voting attitudes and political attainment.

In terms of data and methods, this study uses longitudinal socioeconomic and electoral secondary data from the Mexican Federal Electoral Institute (IFE), the National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics (INEGI) as well as from the Ministry of Social Development and secondary data from the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) and electoral data from the Brazilian Supreme Electoral Court (BSEC). It combines an analysis of this data using econometric techniques with a more qualitative account of the political context in each country.

This work was able to associate the influence of the different types of implementation of the programmes with their effects on voting behaviour. Results suggest that the differences of the effects of CCTs on voting behaviour are linked to the diversity of implementation of the programmes. For example, it seems that while in Mexico the programme was implemented as means tested, with mandatory conditions and operated at state level, making it easier for local governments to establish a clientelistic-like usage of the programmes which shaped recipients’ voting behaviour, in Brazil access to the programme follows a self-rated poverty index linked with the office of the cadastro unico (a Single Registry of Social Programmes of the Federal Government) highly associated with PT´s government.

Moreover, in countries such as Mexico and Brazil, the introduction of CCTs has come at a challenging time in their political development: democracy still needs to evolve towards a more predictable and conciliatory political model where the implementation of public policies has foreseeable effects in terms of their relative success and influence on the citizen’s electoral behaviour. The research also considers the relationship between such programmes and the conduct of politics in these countries, particularly the nature of political and civic engagement and the role of clientelism.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Subjects: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General) > JF0020 General. Comparative government > JF0799 Political rights. Political participation
J Political Science > JL Political institutions and public administration (Canada, Latin America, etc.) > JL1200 Mexico
J Political Science > JL Political institutions and public administration (Canada, Latin America, etc.) > JL1850 South America > JL2431 Brazil
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2021 08:44
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2021 08:44
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/102546

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