Scholars concur that conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs have a strong proincumbent effect among beneficiaries. Although no study has properly focused on the overall effect of cash transfers on incumbents' national vote shares, most scholars have deduced that this effect is positive; i.e., that cash transfers lead to the expansion of incumbents' electoral bases. This article analyzes survey data from nearly all Latin American countries and confirms that beneficiaries of CCT programs are more likely to support incumbents. However, it also shows that CCT programs may induce many voters who were previously incumbent supporters to vote for the opposition. As a consequence, the overall impact of cash transfers on incumbents' vote shares is indeterminate; it depends on the balance between both patterns of behavioral changes among voters. This study is the first to report evidence that cash transfer programs may have significant anti-incumbent effects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations