The Participating Poor: The Effect of Conditional Cash Transfers on Beneficiary Political Participation Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 21, 2019
  • Dunn, Claire
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs entered the social policy scene in Mexico and Brazil in the mid-1990s and have since been adopted by policymakers throughout Latin America. While the effects of these programs on health, education, child labor and poverty have been widely studied, the political effects have not been considered in nearly as much depth. Yet we know from studying other social policies that they often have consequences beyond their intended goals. In this paper I build on the existing literature on CCTs and the political consequences of social policies to examine the effect of CCTs on broad political participation. Using survey data from across Latin America and the Caribbean, I find that beneficiaries of CCTs are more likely to participate in a variety of electoral and non-electoral types of participation. Using the same survey data, I also aim to understand the mechanisms that lead CCT beneficiaries to participate at higher rates than non-beneficiaries. I find that beneficiaries express higher levels of political interest, stronger senses of political efficacy and greater trust in political institutions than non-beneficiaries. I argue increased participation among CCT beneficiaries is a result of policy feedback effects, but that these feedback effects are the opposite of what existing literature on advanced democracies would lead us to expect, indicating a need to adjust our theories to the Latin American context.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Martinez-Gallardo, Cecilia
  • Hartlyn, Jonathan
  • Huber, Evelyne
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2017

This work has no parents.