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The political economy of the Essential Air Service program


  • Joshua Hall


  • Amanda Ross


  • Christopher Yencha



We find that congressional influences affect the amount of airport subsidies that a congressional district receives through the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. The EAS program was passed with the goal of helping to continue commercial air service to rural communities following deregulation in the 1970s. Using data from 1998–2014, we find strong and consistent evidence that subsidies are higher in districts having congressional representation on the House Transportation and Ways and Means Committees. Our empirical results, when combined with news reports of members claiming credit for securing EAS funding, are consistent with the EAS serving private and public interests. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua Hall & Amanda Ross & Christopher Yencha, 2015. "The political economy of the Essential Air Service program," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 165(1), pages 147-164, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:165:y:2015:i:1:p:147-164
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-015-0298-z

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    Cited by:

    1. Jessi Troyan & Joshua Hall, 2019. "The Political Economy of Abandoned Mine Land Fund Disbursements," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(1), pages 1-17, January.
    2. Joshua Hall & Shree Baba Pokharel, 2017. "Does the Median Voter or Special Interests Determine State Highway Expenditures? Recent Evidence," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 45(1), pages 59-69, March.
    3. John Considine & Justin Doran, 2016. "Evaluation of an informal rule for the allocation of sports capital funding," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 168(1), pages 43-54, July.

    More about this item


    Congressional dominance; Deregulation; Airports; D73; L93;

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • L93 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Air Transportation


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