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This is a follow-on from a question on Meta.

Would the question below, possibly with slight adjustments, be suitable for Politics SE?

I am looking for empirical evidence that making direct monetary payments to targeted groups of deprived people - say paying all families living in a certain poor district fifty dollars every month, similar to a guaranteed basic income (see Wikipedia) or what the charity GiveDirectly does - can provide short to medium term political benefits to the government (local, regional, national, other) doing it, as well as under which circumstances the political benefits might be particularly high per dollar spent compared to other forms of subsidies or spending. Political benefits might include increased government popularity, increased political stability, decreased crime rates or decreased ethnic tension. Circumstances might include target group (urban community, rural community) and overall political situation and structure (form of goverment, economic climate, situation of peace or conflict). Dollars are used here as the typical reference currency. Potential sources of empirical evidence might include studies of Brazil's "Bolsa Família" programme.

  • Seems fully ontopic to me. – user4012 Jan 28 '16 at 20:40
  • seems too broad, "Political benefits might include increased government popularity, increased political stability, decreased crime rates or decreased ethnic tension." – user1873 Jan 29 '16 at 22:52
  • @user1873 I dare say that the intent of the question is clear - to justify why, or better under what circumstances, it would make self-interested political sense for governments (in the broad sense) to implement direct transfer programs. Governments here do not of course have to be elected ones. Any suggestions about how to narrow the scope of the question while still staying true to the intention? – michaeljt Jan 30 '16 at 5:41
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I will take the lack of negative comment or answers and the one positive comment in nearly twenty four hours as a sign that there is nothing badly wrong with my question. In short: the question is suitable.

  • Your question looks like it might be a bit broad – Sam I am Jan 29 '16 at 16:57
  • @sam-i-am I will re-post the comment I made above (I hope that is not bad form). I dare say that the intent of the question is clear - to justify why, or better under what circumstances, it would make self-interested political sense for governments (in the broad sense) to implement direct transfer programs. Governments here do not of course have to be elected ones. Any suggestions about how to narrow the scope of the question while still staying true to the intention? – michaeljt Jan 30 '16 at 5:42
  • Maybe if you mads a simpler question, it might be better. That would make it easier for a reader to digest. For example: "Can giving money to a subset of citizens benefit the government". – Sam I am Feb 1 '16 at 17:12
  • @sam-i-am Did I misunderstand you then? I thought you meant that the scope of the question was too broad, but it looks like you meant that it is simply too much to take in. And are you talking about changing the question text, or just the title? If the second, I must admit that yours is more eye-catching than mine. – michaeljt Feb 2 '16 at 6:22
  • you make your question sound too broad because you enumerate too many options. Just ask your question at a better level of abstraction – Sam I am Feb 2 '16 at 6:41
  • @SamIam But again, did you mean to re-write the question title or the body? Or both? – michaeljt Feb 2 '16 at 6:47
  • You should make both your question and title clear. – Sam I am Feb 2 '16 at 15:56
  • I will accept this answer for the practical reason that I have already posted the question. I can still do/am still doing edits to try to improve suitability. Suggestions still welcome. – michaeljt Feb 9 '16 at 14:09
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I recently posted in the comment and I suggest a re-write of your question, making more specific points such. For example:

  • Countries: would you like to refer one specific program or more a specific region?
  • Programs: I would suggest to pick one program that might you have more interest.
  • Year: Between 2002 - 2010 one political regime had almost an entire region and used this kind of program. Making shorter time lapses would be helpful also.
  • On the whole I would prefer to avoid tying the question to specific programs, regions or times. I gave "Bolsa Família" as the most important example which came to mind of a real life unconditional transfer scheme (was that what you were referring to with "2002 - 2010"? In fact, what I would like to see would be as generic evidence as possible which would be likely to persuade governments that it implementing such schemes is in their political interest. And I am looking for a way to ask people for this sort of evidence which best fits the Stack Exchange format! – michaeljt Feb 3 '16 at 9:28

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