The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes
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.
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