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Districts, Diversity, and Fiscal Biases: Evidence from the American States

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  • Crain, W Mark

Abstract

This paper argues that the configuration of legislative districts and not merely the number of districts matters for fiscal performance. District configuration mediates the extent of constituent diversity both across and within districts. Both dimensions of diversity affect the political calculus associated with pork barrel politics. Empirical findings for the American states reveal statistically and quantitatively significant effects of constituent diversity on state government spending. Together the analysis and evidence emphasize the conditional nature of the "Law of 1/n." In the United States, this point acquires practical relevance from the Constitutional mandate for decennial redistricting in all jurisdictions based on geographic representation. Copyright 1999 by the University of Chicago.

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  • Crain, W Mark, 1999. "Districts, Diversity, and Fiscal Biases: Evidence from the American States," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 675-698, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:42:y:1999:i:2:p:675-98
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/467438
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Poterba, James M, 1996. "Budget Institutions and Fiscal Policy in the U.S. States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 395-400, May.
    2. Gordon Tullock, 1959. "Problems of Majority Voting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 67, pages 571-571.
    3. Crain, W Mark & Muris, Timothy J, 1995. "Legislative Organization of Fiscal Policy," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 311-333, October.
    4. Gilligan, Thomas W & Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Deviations from Constituent Interests: The Role of Legislative Structure and Political Parties in the States," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(3), pages 383-401, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Henrik Jordahl & Che-Yuan Liang, 2010. "Merged municipalities, higher debt: on free-riding and the common pool problem in politics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 143(1), pages 157-172, April.
    2. Alison F. DelRossi & Robert P. Inman, 1998. "Changing the Price of Pork: The Impact of Local Cost Sharing on Legislators' Demand for Distributive Public Goods," NBER Working Papers 6440, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Dongwon Lee, 2016. "Supermajority rule and bicameral bargaining," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 169(1), pages 53-75, October.
    4. Edward López & R. Jewell, 2007. "Strategic institutional choice: Voters, states, and congressional term limits," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 132(1), pages 137-157, July.
    5. Knight, Brian, 2004. "Parochial interests and the centralized provision of local public goods: evidence from congressional voting on transportation projects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 845-866, March.
    6. Reed, W. Robert, 2006. "Democrats, republicans, and taxes: Evidence that political parties matter," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 725-750, May.
    7. Corbett A. Grainger, 2010. "Redistricting and Polarization: Who Draws the Lines in California?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 53(3), pages 545-567.

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