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Does Welfare Provision Promote Democratic State Legitimacy? Evidence from Brazil’s Bolsa Família Program

  • Matthew L. Layton (a1), Maureen M. Donaghy (a2) and Lúcio R. Rennó (a3)

Abstract

Conditional cash transfer programs may boost the electoral fortunes of incumbents among beneficiary groups, but do they also influence recipient attitudes toward state legitimacy? This article examines the relationship between Brazil's Bolsa Família program and recipients’ sense of the Brazilian state's political legitimacy, from 2007 to 2014. Using AmericasBarometer data and propensity score matching, this study provides evidence that targeted cash benefits correlate with citizens’ views of the state, but that this relationship is limited to increasing trust in core state institutions, local government, and incumbent political actors. Diffuse dimensions of regime legitimacy, including recipients’ sense of political community, support for regime principles, and retrospective perceptions of national economic performance, are largely unaffected by the receipt of targeted benefits. Over time, the evidence also suggests that the impact of program receipt on these measures of support remains largely unchanged.

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References

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Does Welfare Provision Promote Democratic State Legitimacy? Evidence from Brazil’s Bolsa Família Program

  • Matthew L. Layton (a1), Maureen M. Donaghy (a2) and Lúcio R. Rennó (a3)

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