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

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  • Larcinese, Valentino
  • Rizzo, Leonzio
  • Testa, Cecilia

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 in�uential paper by Atlas et al. (1995), using a within estimation methodology �nds that small and overrepresented states get signi�cantly larger shares of federal funds. Revisiting the econometric speci�cation used by the current empiri- cal research, we show that the number of senators percapita is inappropriate to capture malapportionement in regressions using broad federal programs, and that the results ob- tained with this indicator are extremely non-robust to reasonable speci�cation changes. In particular, senators percapita have a signi�cant impact on federal spending only in re- gressions containing state �xed e¤ects. Furthermore, the coefficients estimated using the within methodology are statistically di¤erent across states and, therefore, cannot be used to assess spending differentials between states. The magnitude and signi�cance of those coe¢ cients suggest a within state-speci�c inverse relationship between broad spending categories and population which is not systematically related to the size of the states and seems more compatible with incrementalist theories of budget allocation.

Suggested Citation

  • Larcinese, Valentino & Rizzo, Leonzio & Testa, Cecilia, 2007. "Do Small States Get More Federal Monies? Myth and Reality about the US Senate Malapportionment," MPRA Paper 5339, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:5339
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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. Ansolabehere, Stephen & Snyder, James M. & Ting, Michael M., 2003. "Bargaining in Bicameral Legislatures: When and Why Does Malapportionment Matter?," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 97(3), pages 471-481, August.
    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. Davis, Otto A. & Dempster, M. A. H. & Wildavsky, Aaron, 1966. "A Theory of the Budgetary Process," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 529-547, September.
    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.
    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. Ansolabehere, Stephen & Gerber, Alan & Snyder, Jim, 2002. "Equal Votes, Equal Money: Court-Ordered Redistricting and Public Expenditures in the American States," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 96(4), pages 767-777, December.
    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, 2009. "Inter-Regional redistribution through infrastructure investment: tactical or programmatic?," Working Papers 2009/32, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    2. Albert Solé-Ollé, 2013. "Inter-regional redistribution through infrastructure investment: tactical or programmatic?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 229-252, July.
    3. Tiberiu Dragu & Jonathan Rodden, 2010. "Representation and regional redistribution in federations," Working Papers 2010/16, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    4. 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;National Tax Journal, vol. 66(2), pages 311-342, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    federal budget; malapportionment; small state advantage; overrepresentation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General
    • H61 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Budget; Budget Systems
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • H59 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Other
    • H76 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Other Expenditure Categories
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs

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