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Cross-Class Coalitions and Collective Goods: The Farmacias del Pueblo in the Dominican Republic

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The farmacias del pueblo in the Dominican Republic sell generic drugs to eligible consumers at bargain-basement prices. While their proponents portray them as models of public enterprise and welcome their efforts to bring essential medicines to poor people, their critics worry that they are used less to protect public health than to purchase political support—with perverse consequences for democracy and distribution. Are the farmacias an indispensable source of essential medicine or an inefficient source of political patronage? I study their location and utilization; find that they are both located in low-income communities and open to better-off buyers; and conclude that by combining the efficiency of spatial targeting with the popularity of universal access, they offer developing democracies a sustainable approach to social policy.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2019

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  • Comparative Politics is an international journal that publishes scholarly articles devoted to the comparative analysis of political institutions and behavior. It was founded in 1968 to further the development of comparative political theory and the application of comparative theoretical analysis to the empirical investigation of political issues. Comparative Politics communicates new ideas and research findings to social scientists, scholars, and students, and is valued by experts in research organizations, foundations, and consulates throughout the world.
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