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Do Small States Get More Federal Monies?Myth and Reality About the US SenateMalapportionment


  • Valentino Larcinese
  • Leonzio Rizzo
  • Cecilia Testa


We analyze the relationship between senate malapportionment and the allocation ofthe US federal budget to the states during the period 1978-2002. A substantialliterature originating from the influential paper by ?) finds that small andoverrepresented states get significantly larger shares of federal funds. We show thatthese studies suffer from fundamental identification problems and grosslyoverestimate the impact of malapportionment. Most of the estimated impact is not ascale but a change effect. Rather than evidence of "small state advantage", we findthat states with fast growing population are penalized in the allocation of the federalbudget independently of whether they are large or small.

Suggested Citation

  • Valentino Larcinese & Leonzio Rizzo & Cecilia Testa, 2009. "Do Small States Get More Federal Monies?Myth and Reality About the US SenateMalapportionment," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 007, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:stieop:007

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    1. Valentino Larcinese & Leonzio Rizzo & Cecilia Testa, 2005. "Allocating the US Federal Budget to the States: the Impact of the President," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 03, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
    2. Brian Knight, 2004. "Legislative Representation, Bargaining Power, and the Distribution of Federal Funds: Evidence from the U.S. Senate," NBER Working Papers 10385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Brian Knight, 2005. "Estimating the Value of Proposal Power," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1639-1652, December.
    4. Wright, Gavin, 1974. "The Political Economy of New Deal Spending: An Econometric Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(1), pages 30-38, February.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:03:p:471-481_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Hauk, William R. & Wacziarg, Romain, 2007. "Small States, Big Pork," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 2(1), pages 95-106, March.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:60:y:1966:i:03:p:529-547_13 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Wallis, John Joseph, 1998. "The Political Economy of New Deal Spending Revisited, Again: With and without Nevada," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 140-170, April.
    9. Gary Hoover & Paul Pecorino, 2005. "The Political Determinants of Federal Expenditure at the State Level," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 123(1), pages 95-113, April.
    10. repec:cup:apsrev:v:96:y:2002:i:04:p:767-777_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Atlas, Cary M, et al, 1995. "Slicing the Federal Government Net Spending Pie: Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 624-629, June.
    12. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number moff03-1, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Valentino Larcinese & Leonzio Rizzo & Cecilia Testa, 2013. "Changing Needs, Sticky Budget: Evidence From the Geographic Distribution of U.S. Federal Grants," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 66(2), pages 311-342, June.
    2. Albert Solé-Ollé, 2013. "Inter-regional redistribution through infrastructure investment: tactical or programmatic?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 229-252, July.

    More about this item


    federal budget; malapportionment; small state advantage; overrepresentation;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H61 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Budget; Budget Systems
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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