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The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes

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  • Levitt, Steven D
  • Snyder, James M, Jr

Abstract

Previous empirical studies have found little evidence that voters reward incumbent members of Congress for bringing federal dollars to their district. One explanation for these findings is that incumbents who are in danger of losing reelection exert more effort to obtain federal funds. To address that issue, this paper uses federal spending outside the district but inside the state as an instrument for spending in the district. In contrast to previous studies, the authors find strong evidence that federal spending benefits congressional incumbents: an additional $100 per capita in spending is worth as much as 2 percent of the popular vote. Copyright 1997 by the University of Chicago.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 105 (1997)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 30-53

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:105:y:1997:i:1:p:30-53

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  1. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
  2. Kenneth Shepsle & Barry Weingast, 1981. "Structure-induced equilibrium and legislative choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 503-519, January.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Howard Rosenthal, 1988. "Partisan Cycles in Congressional Elections and the Macroeconomy," NBER Working Papers 2706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Rosenthal, Howard & Alesina, Alberto, 1989. "Partisan Cycles in Congressional Elections and the Macroeconomy," Scholarly Articles 4553031, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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