Does the distribution of New Deal spending reflect an optimal provision of public goods?
Since 1969 more than a dozen studies have explored the grossly unequal state-level distribution of New Deal spending. Why did small population rural states such as Nevada, Montana, and Wyoming receive up to six times as many federal dollars per capita as densely populated states such as Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York? Empirical studies employing economic and political variables have had mixed results in explaining this distribution. What past studies neglect is that a large proportion of New Deal dollars went towards the creation of public goods, which had spillover effects particularly upon those who lived in close proximity to these projects. This note suggests that the state-level distribution of per capita expenditures during the 1930s is consistent with what would be expected to follow from an economically efficient allocation of public goods.
Volume (Year): 8 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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