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Bringing Home the Bacon: An empirical analysis of the extent and effects of pork-barreling in Australian politics

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  • Andrew Leigh

Abstract

Which electorates receive targeted funding, and does targeted funding swing votes? To answer these questions, I analyze four discretionary programs funded by the Australian federal government during the 2001-2004 election cycle. Controlling for relevant demographic characteristics of the electorate, those electorates held by the governing coalition received a larger share of discretionary funding, and a larger number of program grants. Among government seats, funding does not appear to have been directed towards those that were more marginal. More discretionary funding – particularly on road-building – was associated with a larger swing towards the government in the 2004 election.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Leigh, 2008. "Bringing Home the Bacon: An empirical analysis of the extent and effects of pork-barreling in Australian politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 580, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:580
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    File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/DP580.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Andrew Leigh & Justin Wolfers, 2006. "Competing Approaches to Forecasting Elections: Economic Models, Opinion Polling and Prediction Markets," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 82(258), pages 325-340, September.
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    3. Cadot, Olivier & Roller, Lars-Hendrik & Stephan, Andreas, 2006. "Contribution to productivity or pork barrel? The two faces of infrastructure investment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(6-7), pages 1133-1153, August.
    4. Arulampalam, Wiji & Dasgupta, Sugato & Dhillon, Amrita & Dutta, Bhaskar, 2009. "Electoral goals and center-state transfers: A theoretical model and empirical evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 103-119, January.
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    6. Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Economic Voting And Electoral Behavior: How Do Individual, Local, And National Factors Affect The Partisan Choice?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17, pages 265-296, July.
    7. Golden, M. & Picci, L., 2007. "Pork Barrel Politics in Postwar Italy, 1953–1994," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0767, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    8. 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.
    9. repec:cup:apsrev:v:96:y:2002:i:01:p:27-40_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:cup:apsrev:v:78:y:1984:i:01:p:110-125_25 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Firpo, Sergio & Ponczek, Vladimir & Sanfelice, Viviane, 2015. "The relationship between federal budget amendments and local electoral power," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 186-198.
    2. Mikael Elinder & Henrik Jordahl & Panu Poutvaara, 2008. "Selfish and Prospective: Theory and Evidence of Pocketbook Voting," CESifo Working Paper Series 2489, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Guccio, Calogero & Mazza, Isidoro, 2014. "On the political determinants of the allocation of funds to heritage authorities," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 18-38.
    4. Cinnirella, Francesco & Schueler, Ruth M., 2016. "Nation Building: The Role of Central Spending in Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 11621, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Leigh, Andrew & Neill, Christine, 2011. "Can national infrastructure spending reduce local unemployment? Evidence from an Australian roads program," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 150-153.
    6. Muraközy, Balázs & Telegdy, Álmos, 2016. "Political incentives and state subsidy allocation: Evidence from Hungarian municipalities," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 324-344.
    7. repec:eee:exehis:v:67:y:2018:i:c:p:18-39 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Monica Nagpal & Michael A. Kortt & Brian Dollery, 2013. "Bang for the Buck? An Evaluation of the Roads to Recovery Program," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 32(2), pages 239-248, June.
    9. Dettmer, Bianka & Sauer, Thomas, 2016. "Implementation of European cohesion policy at the sub-national level: Evidence from beneficiary data in Eastern Germany," Jena Contributions to Economic Research 2016/1, University of Applied Sciences Jena, Department of Business Administration.
    10. 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.
    11. Elinder, Mikael & Jordahl, Henrik & Poutvaara, Panu, 2015. "Promises, policies and pocketbook voting," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 177-194.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    elections; local expenditure; voting; targeted funding; pork barreling;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy

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