Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Legislatures, Bureaucracies, and Distributive Spending

  • MICHAEL M. TING (a1)
Abstract

This article develops a theory of bureaucratic influence on distributive politics. Although there exists a rich literature on the effects of institutions such as presidents, electoral systems, and bicameralism on government spending, the role of professional bureaucrats has yet to receive formal scrutiny. In the model, legislators bargain over the allocation of distributive benefits across districts. The legislature may either “politicize” a program by bargaining directly over pork and bypassing bureaucratic scrutiny, or “professionalize” it by letting a bureaucrat approve or reject project funding in each district according to an underlying quality standard. The model predicts that the legislature will professionalize when the expected program quality is high. However, politicization becomes more likely as the number of high-quality projects increases and under divided government. Further, more competent bureaucrats can encourage politicization if the expected program quality is low. Finally, politicized programs are larger than professionalized programs.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Michael M. Ting is Professor of Political Science and Public Affairs, Columbia University, 420 West 118th Street, New York NY 10027 (mmt2033@columbia.edu).
References
Hide All
Alesina, Alberto, and Tabellini, Guido. 2007. “Bureaucrats or Politicians? Part I: A Single Policy Task.” American Economic Review 97 (1): 169–79.
Anagnoson, J. Theodore. 1982. “Federal Grant Agencies and Congressional Election Campaigns.” American Journal of Political Science 26 (3): 547–61.
Anagnoson, J. Theodore. 1983. “Bureaucratic Reactions to Political Pressures: Can a Grant Agency “Manage” Its Political Environment?Administration & Society 15 (1): 97118.
Ansolabehere, Stephen, Gerber, Alan, and Snyder, James M.. 2002. “Equal Votes, Equal Money: Court-Ordered Redistricting and Public Expenditures in the American States.” American Political Science Review 96 (4): 767–77.
Ansolabehere, Stephen, Snyder, James M., and Ting, Michael M.. 2003. “Bargaining in Bicameral Legislatures: When and Why Does Malapportionment Matter?American Political Science Review 97 (3): 471–81.
Arnold, R. Douglas. 1979. Congress and the Bureaucracy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Balla, J. Steven, Lawrence, D. Eric, Maltzman, Forrest, and Sigelman, Lee. 2002. “Partisanship, Blame Avoidance, and the Distribution of Legislative Pork.” American Journal of Political Science 46 (3): 515–25.
Banks, Jeffrey S. 1989. “Agency Budgets, Cost Information, and Auditing.” American Journal of Political Science 33 (3): 670–99.
Baron, David P. 1991. “Majoritarian Incentives, Pork Barrel Programs, and Procedural Control.” American Journal of Political Science 35 (1): 5790.
Baron, David P. 1996. “A Dynamic Theory of Collective Goods Programs.” American Political Science Review 90 (2): 316–30.
Baron, David P., and Ferejohn, John A.. 1989. “Bargaining in Legislatures.” American Political Science Review 83: 11811206.
Bendor, Jonathan, Taylor, Serge, and Gaalen, Roland Van. 1987. “Politicians, Bureaucrats, and Asymmetric Information.” American Journal of Political Science 31 (4): 796828.
Berry, Christopher R., Burden, Barry C., and Howell, William G.. 2010. “The President and the Distribution of Federal Spending.” American Political Science Review 104 (4): 783–99.
Berry, Christopher R., and Gersen, Jacob E.. 2010. “Agency Design and Distributive Politics.” Unpublished manuscript, University of Chicago.
Bertelli, Anthony M., and Grose, Christian R.. 2009. “Secretaries of Pork? A New Theory of Distributive Public Policy.” Journal of Politics 71 (3): 926–45.
Besley, Timothy, and Persson, Torsten. 2011. Pillars of Prosperity: The Political Economics of Development Clusters. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Bickers, Kenneth N., and Stein, Robert M.. 1997. “Building majority Coalitions for Sub-majority Benefit Distributions.” Public Choice 91 (3/4): 229–49.
Carpenter, Daniel P. 2001. The Forging of Bureaucratic Autonomy: Reputations, Networks, and Policy Innovation in Executive Agencies, 1862–1928. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Carpenter, Daniel P., and Ting, Michael M.. 2007. “Regulatory Errors with Endogenous Agendas.” American Journal of Political Science 51 (4): 835–52.
Cho, Seok-ju, and Duggan, John. 2005. “Bargaining Foundations of the Median Voter Theorem.” Unpublished manuscript, University of Rochester.
Collie, Melissa P. 1988. “The Legislature and Distributive Policy Marking in Formal Perspective.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 13: 427–58.
de Figueiredo, John M., and Silverman, Brian S.. 2006. “Academic Earmarks and the Returns to Lobbying.” Journal of Law and Economics 49 (2): 597626.
DelRossi, Alison F., and Inman, Robert P.. 1999. “Changing the Price of Pork: The Impact of Local Cost Sharing on Legislators’ Demands for Distributive Public Goods.” Journal of Public Economics 71: 247–73.
Derthick, Martha. 1990. Agency under Stress. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.
Ferejohn, John A. 1974. Pork Barrel Politics: Rivers and Harbors Legislation, 1947–1968. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Gailmard, Sean. 2002. “Expertise, Subversion, and Bureaucratic Discretion.” Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 18 (2): 536–55.
Gailmard, Sean, and Patty, John W.. 2007. “Slackers and Zealots: Civil Service, Policy Discretion and Bureaucratic Expertise.” American Journal of Political Science 51 (4): 873–89.
Gerber, Elisabeth R., and Gibson, Clark C.. 2009. “Balancing Regionalism and Localism: How Institutions and Incentives Shape American Transportation Policy.” American Journal of Political Science 53 (3): 633–48.
Gordon, Sanford C. 2011. “Politicizing Agency Spending Authority: Lessons from a Bush-era Scandal.” American Political Science Review 105 (4): 717–34.
Hird, John A. 1990. “Superfund Expenditures and Cleanup Priorities: Distributive Politics or the Public Interest?Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 9 (4): 455–83.
Hird, John A. 1991. “The Political Economy of Pork: Project Selection at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.” American Political Science Review 85 (2): 429–56.
Huber, John D., and Shipan, Charles R.. 2002. Deliberate Discretion? The Institutional Foundations of Bureaucratic Autonomy. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Kaufman, Herbert. 1960. The Forest Ranger, A Study in Administrative Behavior. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.
Kernell, Samuel, and McDonald, Michael P.. 1999. “Congress and America's Political Development: The Transformation of the Post Office from Patronage to Service.” American Journal of Political Science 43 (3): 792811.
Krause, George A., Lewis, David E., and Douglas, James W.. 2006. “Political Appointments, Civil Service Systems, and Bureaucratic Competence: Organizational Balancing and Executive Branch Revenue Forecasts in the American States.” American Journal of Political Science 50 (3): 770–87.
Law, Marc T., and Tonon, Joseph M.. 2006. “The Strange Budgetary Politics of Agricultural Research Earmarks.” Public Budgeting and Finance 26 (3): 121.
Lee, Frances. 2000. “Senate Representation and Coalition Building in Distributive Politics.” American Political Science Review 94 (1): 5972.
Levitt, Steven D., and Snyder, James M. Jr. 1995. “Political Parties and the Distribution of Federal Outlays.” American Journal of Political Science 39 (4): 958–80.
Lewis, David E. 2008. The Politics of Presidential Appointments: Political Control and Bureaucratic Performance. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Lowi, Theodore J. 1964. “American Business, Public Policy, Case Studies, and Political Theory.” World Politics 16: 677715.
Maass, Arthur. 1951. Muddy Waters: The Army Engineers and the Nation's Rivers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Manley, John T. 1970. The Politics of Finance. Boston: Little, Brown.
Maor, Moshe. 2007. “A Scientific Standard and an Agency's Legal Independence: Which of These Reputation-Protection Mechanisms Is Less Susceptible to Political Moves.” Public Administration 85 (4): 961–78.
Maskin, Eric, and Tirole, Jean. 2004. “The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government.” American Economic Review 94 (4): 1034–54.
McCarty, Nolan. 2000. “Presidential Pork: Executive Veto Power and Distributive Politics.” American Political Science Review 94 (1): 117–29.
McCubbins, Mathew D., Noll, Roger G., and Weingast, Barry R.. 1987. “Administrative Procedures as Instruments of Political Control.” Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 3 (2): 243–77.
Miller, Gary J., and Moe, Terry M.. 1983. “Bureaucrats, Legislators, and the Size of Government.” American Political Science Review 77 (2): 297322.
Moe, Terry M. 1989. “The Politics of Bureaucratic Structure.” In Can the Government Govern?, eds. Chubb, J. E. and Peterson, P. E.. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 267329.
Muir, William K. 1977. Police: Streetcorner Politicians. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Nelson, Richard R., and Rosenberg, Nathan. 1993. “Technical Innovation and National Systems.” In National Innovation Systems, ed. Nelson, R. R.. New York: Oxford University Press.
Norman, Peter. 2002. “Legislative Bargaining and Coalition Formation.” Journal of Economic Theory 102: 322–53.
Prendergast, Canice. 2003. “The Limits of Bureaucratic Efficiency.” Journal of Political Economy 111 (5): 929–58.
Quirk, Paul. 1980. “Food and Drug Administration.” In The Politics of Regulation, ed. Wilson, J. Q.. New York: Basic Books, 191235.
Rauch, James E. 1995. “Bureaucracy, Infrastructure, and Economic Growth: Evidence from U.S. Cities during the Progressive Era.” American Economic Review 85 (4): 968–79.
Rauch, James, and Evans, Peter B.. 2000. “Bureaucratic Structure and Bureaucratic Performance in Less Developed Countries.” Journal of Public Economics 75 (1): 4971.
Rich, Michael J. 1989. “Distributive Politics and the Allocation of Federal Grants.” American Political Science Review 83 (1): 193213.
Shepsle, Kenneth A., and Weingast, Barry R.. 1981. “Political Preferences for the Pork Barrel: A Generalization.” American Journal of Political Science 25: 96111.
Stein, Robert M., and Bickers, Kenneth N.. 1995. Perpetuating the Pork Barrel: Policy Subsystems and American Democracy. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Volden, Craig, and Wiseman, Alan E.. 2007. “Bargaining in Legislatures over Particularistic and Collective Goods.” American Political Science Review 101 (1): 7992.
Weaver, Suzanne. 1977. Decision to Prosecute. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Weber, Max. 1946. “Bureaucracy.” In Essays in Sociology, eds. Gerth, H. H. and Mills, C. Wright. New York: Oxford University Press, 196233.
Wilson, James Q. 1978. The Investigators: Managing FBI and Narcotics Agents. New York: Basic Books.
Wilson, James Q. 2000. Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It. 2nd ed.New York: Basic Books.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed