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The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Levitt, Steven D & Snyder, James M, Jr, 1997. "The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 30-53, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:105:y:1997:i:1:p:30-53
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/262064
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kenneth Shepsle & Barry Weingast, 1981. "Structure-induced equilibrium and legislative choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 503-519, January.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:83:y:1989:i:02:p:373-398_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. David M. Cutler & Jonathan Gruber, 1996. "Does Public Insurance Crowd out Private Insurance?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 391-430.
    4. Rosenthal, Howard & Alesina, Alberto, 1989. "Partisan Cycles in Congressional Elections and the Macroeconomy," Scholarly Articles 4553031, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    5. Alberto Alesina & Howard Rosenthal, 1988. "Partisan Cycles in Congressional Elections and the Macroeconomy," NBER Working Papers 2706, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. repec:cup:apsrev:v:77:y:1983:i:02:p:407-419_24 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Inman, Robert P & Fitts, Michael A, 1990. "Political Institutions and Fiscal Policy: Evidence from the U.S. Historical Record," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(0), pages 79-132.
    8. 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 642-664, August.
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    JEL classification:

    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General

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