Department of Political Science
106 Central St.
Wellesley MA 02481
Institutional Affiliation: Wellesley College
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|September 2016||Voter Response to Peak and End Transfers: Evidence from a Conditional Cash Transfer Experiment|
with Sebastian Galiani, Patrick J. McEwan, Pablo Ibarraran, Nandita Krishnaswamy: w22588
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.