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Earmarked: The Political Economy of Agricultural Research Appropriations


  • Marc T. Law
  • Joseph M. Tonon
  • Gary J. Miller


Since 1965 a significant portion of the US Department of Agriculture's extramural research budget has been earmarked by Congress for particular research projects. We analyze the process by which a minority of Congress induces the USDA to carry out its budgetary suggestions. We present evidence demonstrating the influence that appropriators possess over the allocation of earmarked grants. Finally, we argue that this program provides an excellent illustration of path-dependence in government policy, and that an understanding of the special grants program may shed light on the decline of science at the USDA and Congress's reluctance to increase agricultural research funding. Copyright 2008, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc T. Law & Joseph M. Tonon & Gary J. Miller, 2008. "Earmarked: The Political Economy of Agricultural Research Appropriations," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 30(2), pages 194-213.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:revage:v:30:y:2008:i:2:p:194-213

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