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Determinants of the Distribution of Congressional Earmarks Across States

Author

Listed:
  • Melissa Boyle

    () (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

  • Victor Matheson

    () (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

Abstract

Congressional earmarks have been the subject of significant political debate in recent years. Also known as “pork barrel spending,” earmarks are budgetary requests made by a single legislator that typically circumvent the traditional competitive bidding process designed to ensure the efficient use of public dollars. Utilizing annual state-level estimates of pork barrel spending, we briefly examine the factors influencing states’ receipt of earmarked funds from Congress. Results indicate that on average smaller states receive the largest amount of per capita earmarked funding, most likely as a result of their disproportionate influence in the Senate. In addition, the presence of a Republican Congressional delegation increases pork spending in the state. Finally, the tenure of a state’s senior Senator has a large effect on the state’s receipt of earmarked funds. Each additional year of Senate experience by a state’s senior Senator results in a $4.48 increase in earmarked dollars per capita for that state’s residents.

Suggested Citation

  • Melissa Boyle & Victor Matheson, 2008. "Determinants of the Distribution of Congressional Earmarks Across States," Working Papers 0806, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:0806
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    File URL: http://web.holycross.edu/RePEc/hcx/HC0806-Boyle-Matheson_Earmarks.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hauk, William R. & Wacziarg, Romain, 2007. "Small States, Big Pork," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 2(1), pages 95-106, March.
    2. Alvarez, R Michael & Saving, Jason L, 1997. "Congressional Committees and the Political Economy of Federal Outlays," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 92(1-2), pages 55-73, July.
    3. 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.
    4. David M. Drukker, 2003. "Testing for serial correlation in linear panel-data models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(2), pages 168-177, June.
    5. Bernhardt, Dan & Dubey, Sangita & Hughson, Eric, 2004. "Term limits and pork barrel politics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2383-2422, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zheng, Xinye & Li, Fanghua & Song, Shunfeng & Yu, Yihua, 2013. "Central government's infrastructure investment across Chinese regions: A dynamic spatial panel data approach," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 264-276.
    2. Robert Baumann & Bryan Engelhardt & Victor Matheson, 2009. "The Great Macroeconomic Experiment: Assessing the Effects of Fiscal Stimulus Spending on Employment Growth," Working Papers 0910, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    pork barrel spending; pork; earmarks; government spending;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • H61 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Budget; Budget Systems

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