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Direct and Indirect Pork Barrel in the US

Ignacio Jurado
University of Oxford
Ignacio Jurado
University of Oxford
Open Panel

Abstract

Traditionally, the literature has discussed whether legislators try to bring pork home. However, it has been barely discussed which policy instruments politicians use to pork barrel their home districts. This paper argues that the geographic concentration of their votes is a crucial variable to explain the policies a legislator will pursue. When a legislator has its voters concentrated in specific areas of her district and is unable to win new votes in the rest of it, she will specialize in providing earmarked projects to her core areas. However, when a politician gets a homogenous distribution of votes, she will try to obtain national policies that impact her whole home district. These hypotheses are tested for the US Senators and the federal expenditure in US states finding positive empirical support..