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.
Galiani, Sebastian, Nadya Hajj, Patrick J. McEwan, Pablo Ibarrarán, and Nandita Krishnaswamy.
"Voter Response to Peak and End Transfers: Evidence from a Conditional Cash Transfer Experiment."
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,
Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements