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Brazil’s Bolsa Família program is a conditional cash transfer scheme that has been hailed for dramatically reducing poverty and inequality since its launch in 2003. Under the scheme, qualifying families receive a monthly stipend on the condition that they fulfill certain requirements in health and education. Although the Bolsa Família is a federal program, each of Brazil’s 5, 564 municipalities play an important role in its local implementation. Using a combination of regression analysis and four case studies from the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, this study evaluates the impact of local government capacity on beneficiaries’ health and education. I find that municipalities with higher administrative capacity – more developed collaboration across sectors and more competent staff – are likely to be more effective in implementing the BFP, as observed by higher monitoring rates. As a result, the percentage of beneficiaries who comply with the program’s health and education requirements is likely to be higher in these municipalities. The paper concludes that local governments are critical actors in the success of this program and calls for policymakers to build administrative capacity through a combination of incentives and regulations.

 

People

Researcher: Pui Shen Yoong

Advisors: Professor Jessica Teets (Political Science),

Professor John Maluccio (Economics)

 

 

Related Links

Bolsa Familia (in Portuguese)

The Nuts and Bolts of Brazil’s Bolsa Familia Program: Implementing Conditional Cash Transfers in a Decentralized Context 

Avoiding Governors: The Success of Bolsa Familia

Buying Out the Poor? Bolsa Familia & the 2010 Elections in Brazil

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This thesis presents the internal conflict in Peru from the perspective of the Peruvian peasantry in order to analyze and determine who joined, as well as the why they joined, including the various factors that may have motivated these people to join the Shining Path. Basing my analysis on a variety of individuals using the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s documents as well as other sources, I explore specific cases to determine the relationship between individual motivations and Sendero’s group cohesion. I stress that many of the motivating reasons and problems academics describe such as socio economic disparity, colonial and feudal legacies, racism towards the indigenous, and lack of state presence are still issues present in Peru making certain kinds of citizens susceptible to terrorism under alternative leadership. The state’s process of the dehumanization of terrorists and the lack of attention paid to their testimonies parallels the lack of interest in terrorist motivations. Furthermore, this thesis warns against the dangers of this process as it propagates the faulty idea that military intervention will solve this complex issue that continues to affect Peru’s security.

People

Thesis Advisors: Jeff Cason and Roberto Pareja
Mellon Grant Project Advisor: Enrique García

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A MiddLab Project

Framing and Blaming: The Role of Media in the 2005 Parisian Riots

Learn more about Political Science and Media Culture at Middlebury College.

The media played a significant role in the riots of Paris in 2005. This study examines the French and American media’s role in the formation of the identity of the rioters. The study draws on media content analysis based on news sources from the political right and left in each country. The results suggest two things. First, media on the political left, in both France and the United States, tends to frame the cause of the riots as a structural issue of exclusion while the political right tends to characterize the source of conflict as an agency issue of integration based on social differences. This can be explained by differences in political influences and underlying goals. Second, American media uses national and religious terms to describe the rioters’ identity while French media portrays them as a frustrated suburban youth. This reflects the respective historical contexts and political traditions.

People

Zoe Hamilton
Researcher

Erik Bleich
Sponsor & Associate Professor of Political Science

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Despite unbelievable economic growth rates averaging between 8-10% in 2009 and bright economic prospects, China and India have become two of the largest contributors to world poverty. However, China has been able to alleviate more poverty than India. I believe that there are lessons to be learnt from China’s success. Thus, I will compare both nations and examine the impact of provincial politics (decentralization) on poverty alleviation to determine why China has been able to alleviate more poverty than India. Since China and India are populous, large countries, there is a strong presence of state-level political institutions, which guide policy implementation. I will, thus, examine the cases of Sichuan and Anhui in China and Kerala andBihar in India. The contrast between the success of Sichuan and Kerala and failures of Anhui and Bihar will provide insight on the impact of decentralization and effectiveness of policy implementation towards poverty alleviation.

People

Ruchi Singh
Researcher

Jessica Teets
Sponsor & Assistant Professor of Political Science

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A MiddLab Project

American Poverty in Context: Community Action in New England

Learn more about Service Learning at Middlebury College.

Hal Colston is the founder and director of the Good News Garage. GNG was created to address transportation equity for people in poverty. Hal left the GNG in March 2004 to start a new nonprofit, NeighborKeepers – an inclusive community built that generate Circles of Support. Dr. Colston also teaches a community service course at Champlain College, and serves on the board of the HowardCenter, United Way Community Investment Committee, Vermont Health Foundation and the Visiting Nurse Association.

People

Hal Colston

Founder and Director of Good News Garage and Neighborskeepers

Yuan Lim

Student Organizer

Veronica Muoio

Student Organizer

Dan Murphy

Student Organizer

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October 21st- 29th will be the Fall Student Symposium, “American Poverty in Context.” We aim to build awareness and encourage discussion of poverty-related issues on the local and national level. The symposium will tackle issues such as hunger and local foods, social determinants of health, labor legislation, community action, and homelessness. In addition to inspiring intellectual discourse on poverty, we hope to motivate more students to participate in volunteer activities and to consider pursuing careers in non-profits.

Please click on the posters below in the downloads section for more detailed information about each event!

People

Joel Berg

Executive Director of the New York Coalition Against Hunger

Harlan Beckley

Director of the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability at Washington and Lee University

Robert Prasch

Middlebury College Professor of Economics

Samantha Marder

Project Manager, Project Health  Providence

Hannah Nichols

Talent and Technology Coordinator, Project Health National Offices

Hal Colston

Founder and Director of Good News Garage and Neighborskeepers

Doug Sinclair

Co-Founder of Middlebury Community Care Coalition

Ingrid Pixley

Property Manager for Addison County Community Trust

Jeanne Montross

Executive Director of HOPE (Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects)

Yuan Lim

Student Organizer

Veronica Muoio

Student Organizer

Dan Murphy

Student Organizer

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Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city, has grown and thrived primarily through commerce. Often the most important kind of commerce in the city is informal buying and selling at unfixed prices in unfixed or temporary locations. Important aspects of Tapatían (Guadalajaran) culture are represented in the day-to-day activity of street vendors and tianguis (open-air markets). This presentation is adapted from a long-form essay (in Spanish), written during a semster on Middlebury’s program in Guadalajara.

People

J.P. Allen
Researcher

Nicole Chance
Coordinator of International Programs & Sponsor

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