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Targeted social policy allocations by “clean” state bureaucracies: Chile 2000–2009

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2020

Juan Pablo Luna*
Affiliation:
Instituto de Ciencia Política, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Rodrigo Mardones
Affiliation:
Instituto de Ciencia Política, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
*
*Corresponding author. Email: jlunaf@uc.cl

Abstract

We present evidence on the distributive politics of social transfers implemented in the context of a capable bureaucracy and the absence of a clientelistic machine-party system; where the usual distinction between “core” and “swing” voter investments falls short. Using evidence from Chile, the paper illustrates a selective distributive politics scenario in which, at the margins of fair socioeconomic targeting, incumbents might seek to enhance their political returns by implementing a highly diversified investment portfolio that includes the pursuit of both electoral and non-electoral goals. Non-electoral goals might be more effectively accomplished through selective distributive politics. The empirical evidence is based on a series of seemingly unrelated-regression models generated using a database on the allocations of six different social programs in 345 municipalities over a nine-year period. Our findings and theory discourage the mechanical translation of investment rationales across cases, while promoting a broader and more contextualized analysis of distributive politics.

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Copyright
Copyright © 2015 Taylor & Francis

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