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Title: Beyond Clientelism: Dissecting the Post­‐2002 Class Divide in Brazilian Presidential Elections
Authors: Greenbaum, Tommaso
Advisors: Vogl, Tom
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: This thesis analyzes the growing socioeconomic polarization in Brazilian presidential elections. Specifically, it examines the correlation between the Bolsa Família conditional cash transfer program and PT party vote share and tests the mainstream conception that the program’s benefits swayed low-­‐income beneficiaries to switch parties. If true, this would indicate that politicians could effectively buy the votes of the poor through policy. The paper reviews the program and the pertinent election cycles before consulting primary and secondary sources on the political impact of Bolsa Família, as well as on relevant closely related patterns. Results indicate that Bolsa Família did have a direct clientelistic impact, but that its effect has been largely overestimated. Other confounding factors contribute to the strength of the association between Bolsa Família penetration and PT vote. These include incumbency, as well as issue ownership and political marketing, which have been completely ignored by the scholarly community. While policies are certainly significant, the analysis shows that politics are an equally important factor (if not more) in determining such radical electoral shifts and that therefore such outcomes can be hard to replicate.
Extent: 99 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2017

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