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Abstract

Agricultural input subsidies often have implicit or explicit political economy objectives. Using panel data from Zambia, this article empirically tests whether election outcomes affect targeting of subsidized fertilizer and whether fertilizer subsidies win votes. Results suggest that the Zambian government allocated substantially more subsidized fertilizer to households in constituencies won by the ruling party in the last election, and more so the larger its margin of victory. However, past subsidized fertilizer allocations had no statistically significant effect on the share of votes won by the incumbent president. Rather, voters rewarded the incumbent for reductions in unemployment, poverty, and income inequality.

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