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Voter Response to Peak and End Transfers: Evidence from a Conditional Cash Transfer Experiment

Sebastian Galiani, Nadya Hajj, Patrick J. McEwan, Pablo Ibarraran, Nandita Krishnaswamy

NBER Working Paper No. 22588
Issued in September 2016, Revised in November 2018
NBER Program(s):Development Economics Program

In a Honduran field experiment, sequences of cash transfers to poor households varied in amount of the largest (“peak”) and last (“end”) transfers. Larger peak-end transfers increased voter turnout and the incumbent party’s vote share in the 2013 presidential election, independently of cumulative transfers. A plausible explanation is that voters succumbed to a common cognitive bias by applying peak-end heuristics. Another is that voters deliberately used peak-end transfers to update beliefs about the incumbent party. In either case, the results provide experimental evidence on the classic non-experimental finding that voters are especially sensitive to recent economic activity.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22588

Published: Sebastian Galiani & Nadya Hajj & Patrick J. McEwan & Pablo Ibarrarán & Nandita Krishnaswamy, 2019. "Voter Response to Peak and End Transfers: Evidence from a Conditional Cash Transfer Experiment," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, vol 11(3), pages 232-260. citation courtesy of

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