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The Effects of Congressional Appropriation Committee Membership on the Distribution of Federal Research Funding to Universities

  • A Abigail Payne

    (University of Illinois)

This paper examines the impact of congressional representation of a university through district representation or an alma mater affiliation on the distribution of research funding to research and doctoral universities in the United States. Because appropriations are allocated to agencies on an annual basis, Congress and agencies may be considered strategic actors that seek to minimize as well as exploit their differences in informational asymmetries. Using a data set that covers more than twenty-five years of data, I find there are strong effects from congressional representation on the distribution of research funding. These effects vary based on the type of representation, the seniority of the member serving on the committee, as well as the type of ownership of the university (private or public). Depending on the empirical specification, political diversions of research funding range between four and forty-eight percent. Surprisingly, the diversions associated with an alma mater affiliation are more robust than the diversions associated with district representation, suggesting the existence of political slack. These results suggest that informational asymmetries play a role in the level of congressional influence on agency actions. In addition, the results suggest that actions taken by members of the appropriations committees vary based on their tenure on the committees.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/pe/papers/0111/0111003.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Public Economics with number 0111003.

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Date of creation: 05 Nov 2001
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0111003
Note: Type of Document - pdf; prepared on IBM-PC; to print on HP;
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
  2. James D. Adams & Zvi Griliches, 1996. "Research Productivity in a System of Universities," NBER Working Papers 5833, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
  4. Steven D. Levitt & James M. Snyder, Jr., 1995. "The Impact of Federal Spending on House Election Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 5002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Peltzman, Sam, 1984. "Constituent Interest and Congressional Voting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 181-210, April.
  6. Frank R. Lichtenberg, 1998. "The Allocation of Publicly-Funded Biomedical Research," NBER Working Papers 6601, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Lott, John R, Jr & Bronars, Stephen G, 1993. " Time Series Evidence on Shirking in the U.S. House of Representatives," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(1-2), pages 125-49, June.
  8. Goff, Brian L & Grier, Kevin B, 1993. " On the (Mis)measurement of Legislator Ideology and Shirking," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(1-2), pages 5-20, June.
  9. A. Abigail Payne & Aloysius Siow, 1998. "Estimating the Effects of Federal Research Funding on Universities using Alumni Representation on Congressional Appropriations Committees," Working Papers siow-99-02, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  10. Connolly, Laura S., 1997. "Does external funding of academic research crowd out institutional support?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 389-406, June.
  11. Glenn Parker & Suzanne Parker, 1998. "The economic organization of legislatures and how it affects congressional voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 117-129, April.
  12. Edward P. Lazear, 1996. "Incentives in Basic Research," NBER Working Papers 5444, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Saving, Jason L, 1997. " Human Capital, Committee Power and Legislative Outcomes," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 92(3-4), pages 301-16, September.
  14. Stratmann, Thomas, 1992. "The Effects of Logrolling on Congressional Voting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1162-76, December.
  15. Parker, Glenn R & Parker, Suzanne L, 1998. " The Economic Organization of Legislatures and How It Affects Congressional Voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1-2), pages 117-29, April.
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