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

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  • Cecilia Testa

    () (Department of Economics, Royal Holloway, University of London)

Abstract

We analyze the relationship between senate malapportionment and the allocation of the US federal budget to the states during the period 1978-2002. A substantial literature originating from the influential paper by Atlas et al. (1995) finds that small and overrepresented states get significantly larger shares of federal funds. We show that these studies suffer from fundamental identification problems and grossly overestimate the impact of malapportionment. Most of the estimated impact is not a scale but a change effect. Rather than evidence of "small state advantage", we find that states with fast growing population are penalized in the allocation of the federal budget independently of whether they are large or small.

Suggested Citation

  • Cecilia Testa, 2009. "Do Small States Get More Federal Monies? Myth and Reality About the US Senate Malapportionment," Royal Holloway, University of London: Discussion Papers in Economics 09/04, Department of Economics, Royal Holloway University of London.
  • Handle: RePEc:hol:holodi:0904
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:03:p:471-481_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Hauk, William R. & Wacziarg, Romain, 2007. "Small States, Big Pork," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 2(1), pages 95-106, March.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:60:y:1966:i:03:p:529-547_13 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Robert A. Moffitt, 2003. "Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number moff03-1, April.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Brian Knight, 2005. "Estimating the Value of Proposal Power," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(5), pages 1639-1652, December.
    11. repec:cup:apsrev:v:96:y:2002:i:04:p:767-777_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Albert Solé-Ollé, 2013. "Inter-regional redistribution through infrastructure investment: tactical or programmatic?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 229-252, July.
    2. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    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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