Working Paper Series, School of Economics and Business, Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Nina Bruvik Westberg
Exchanging fertilizer for votes?
Abstract: Several countries have made targeted input subsidy
programs an integral part of their policies for improving food security.
Given the programs' often centralized structure and targeting of private
goods nation-wide, these may also serve as instruments for garnering
electoral support. I investigate to what extent distributions from such a
program was altered leading up to the 2009 Malawian presidential election,
comparing the allocations of fertilizer vouchers in the last season prior
to this relative to other seasons. I do not nd evidence of targeting at the
incumbent's core supporters, whereas swing supporters receive on average
more fertilizer vouchers in the 2008/09 season relative to other seasons.
This increase comes at the expense of the main opponents' core supporters,
whom receive on average fewer vouchers. These ndings add to the broader set
of questions of whether targeted subsidies is the right approach for
improving food security, and if so how.
Keywords: fertilizer subsidies; elections; Malawi; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: D72; H53; O13; Q18; (follow links to similar papers)
54 pages, June 3, 2015
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