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Determinants of the Distribution of Congressional Earmarks Across States

  • Melissa Boyle

    ()

    (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

  • Victor Matheson

    ()

    (Department of Economics, College of the Holy Cross)

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.

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File URL: http://college.holycross.edu/RePEc/hcx/Boyle-Matheson_Earmarks.pdf
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Paper provided by College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 0806.

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Length: 10 pages
Date of creation: May 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Economics Letters, Vol. 104:2, August 2009, 63-65.
Handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:0806
Contact details of provider: Phone: (508)793-3362
Fax: (508) 793-3708
Web page: http://www.holycross.edu/departments/economics/website/

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  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. 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. David M. Drukker, 2003. "Testing for serial correlation in linear panel-data models," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(2), pages 168-177, June.
  4. Alvarez, Michael R. & Saving, Jason, 1995. "Congressional Committees and the Political Economy of Federal Outlays," Working Papers 898, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  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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