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The Racialized Effects of Social Programs in Brazil

  • David De Micheli (a1)

Abstract

Studies of the electoral effects of cash transfer programs in Latin America have largely treated the poor as a unitary group. This study considers how the effects of social benefits vary across groups among the targeted poor by exploring the consequences of race for the electoral effects of Brazil’s Bolsa Família program. A matching analysis of LAPOP survey data shows that race shapes baseline propensities to participate in elections and to support the incumbent PT at the polls; these tendencies then shape the mechanisms through which cash transfers boost support for the incumbent. Benefits mobilize Afro-Brazilians to participate but have little effect on their vote choice. By contrast, benefits have little effect on whites’ participation but persuade them to support the PT over the opposition. This article deepens understanding of how social benefits affect the electoral behavior of recipients and highlights how race shapes political behavior among the poor.

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The Racialized Effects of Social Programs in Brazil

  • David De Micheli (a1)

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