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Kosher Pork

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  • Allan Drazen
  • Ethan Ilzetzki

Abstract

Both conventional wisdom and leading academic research view pork barrel spending as antithetical to responsible policymaking in times of crisis. In this paper we present an alternative view. When agents are heterogeneous in their ideology and in their information about the economic situation, allocation of pork may enable passage of legislation appropriate to a "crisis" that might otherwise not pass. Pork "greases the legislative wheels" not by bribing legislators to accept legislation they view as harmful, but by conveying information about the necessity of policy change, where it may be impossible to convey such information in the absence of pork. Pork may be used for this function in situations where all legislators would agree to forgo pork under full information. Moreover, pork will be observed when the public good is most valuable precisely because it is valuable and the informed agenda setter wants to convey this information.

Suggested Citation

  • Allan Drazen & Ethan Ilzetzki, 2011. "Kosher Pork," NBER Working Papers 16667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16667
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    Cited by:

    1. Prato, Carlo & Wolton, Stephane, 2013. "Rational Ignorance, Elections, and Reform," MPRA Paper 68638, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Dec 2015.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General

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