Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-s82fj Total loading time: 0.477 Render date: 2022-09-29T15:08:25.597Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": false, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

Agency policy preferences, congressional letter-marking and the allocation of distributive policy benefits*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 July 2015

Russell W. Mills
Affiliation:
Bowling Green State University, USA E-mail: millsrw@bgsu.edu
Nicole Kalaf-Hughes
Affiliation:
Bowling Green State University, USA E-mail: ngkalaf@bgsu.edu
Jason A. MacDonald
Affiliation:
West Virginia University, USA E-mail: Jason.MacDonald@mail.wvu.edu

Abstract

When allocating distributive benefits, bureaucrats must balance their own policy preferences with requests from members of Congress. The elimination of earmarking may provide agency personnel with greater discretion in the allocation of distributive benefits. Using a novel data set of congressional letters written in support of their community’s air traffic control towers, we estimate a model that explores the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to issue national interest exemptions to continue operations at towers slated for closure as a result of budget sequestration. Our analysis suggests that members of Congress do not enjoy the influence they possessed under earmarking when using a new method, letter-marking, to influence how agencies distribute benefits.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Cambridge University Press, 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Footnotes

*

Previous versions of this paper were presented at the 2015 Structure of Government (SOG) Conference in Jerusalem, Israel, the 2015 Midwest Political Science Association annual meeting and the 2015 Western Political Science Association annual meeting.

References

Arnold, R. D. (1979) Congress and the Bureaucracy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Arnold, R. D. (1990) The Logic of Collective Action. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Balla, S. J., Lawrence, E. D., Maltzman, F. and Sigelman, L. (2002) Partisanship, Blame, Avoidance, and the Distribution of Legislative Pork. American Journal of Political Science 46(3): 515525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Berry, C. R., Burden, B. C. and Howell, W. G. (2010) The President and the Distribution of Federal Spending. American Political Science Review 104(4): 783799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bertelli, A. M. and Grose, C. R. (2011) Secretaries of Pork? A New Theory of Distributive Public Policy. Journal of Politics 71(3): 926945.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bogardus, K. and Laing, K. (2013) Lawmakers Fought FAA Air Tower Closures with Letter-Marking, The Hill, 16 May. http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/300071-lawmakers-fought-air-tower-closures-with-letter-marking- (accessed 22 November 2013).Google Scholar
Brehm, J. and Gates, S. (1997) Working, Shirking and Sabotage. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Buchanan, J. and Tullock, G. (1962) The Calculus of Consent. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Carpenter, D. P. (2001) The Forging of Bureaucratic Autonomy: Reputations, Networks, and Policy Innovation in Executive Agencies, 1862–1928. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Carpenter, D. P. and Lewis, D. E. (2004) Political Learning from Rare Events: Poisson Inference, Fiscal Constraints, and the Lifetime of Bureaus. Political Analysis 12: 201232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clinton, J. D., Bertelli, A., Grose, C. R., Lewis, D. E. and Nixon, D. C. (2012) Separated Powers in the United States: The Ideology of Agencies, Presidents, and Congress. American Journal of Political Science 56: 341354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Evans, D. (2004) Greasing the Wheels. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Federal Aviation Administration. Federal Contract Tower Notification Letter 2013.Google Scholar
Fiorina, M. P. (1989) Congress: Keystone of the Washington Establishment. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Gordon, S. C. (2011) Politicizing Agency Spending Authority: Lessons from a Bush-Era Scandal. American Political Science Review 105(4): 717734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krause, G. A. (1996) The Institutional Dynamics of Policy Administration: Bureaucratic Influence over Securities Regulation. American Journal of Political Science 40: 10831121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krause, G. A. (2002) Separated Powers and Institutional Growth in the Presidential and Congressional Branches: Distinguishing Between Short–Run Versus Long–Run Dynamics. Political Research Quarterly 55: 2757.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Krause, G. A. (2003) Coping with Uncertainty: Analyzing Risk Propensities of SEC Budgetary Decisions, 1949–1997. American Political Science Review 97: 171188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lazarus, J. (2010) Giving the People What They Want? The Distribution of Earmarks in the U.S. House of Representatives. American Journal of Political Science 54(2): 338353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lee, F. (2003) Geographic Politics in the U.S. House of Representatives: Coalition Building and Distribution of Benefits. American Political Science Review 94(1): 5972.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lipsky, M. (1980) Street-Level Bureaucrats: Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Services. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
Lombard, M., Snyder-Duch, J. and Bracken, C. C. (2002) Content Analysis in Mass Communication: Assessment and Reporting of Intercoder Reliability. Human Communication Research 28: 587604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
McKelvey, R. and Zavoina, W. (1975) A Statistical Model for the Analysis of Ordinal Level Dependent Variables. Journal of Mathematical Sociology 4: 103120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Maor, M. (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): 961978.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
MacDonald, Jason A. (2010) Limitation Riders and Congressional Influence over Bureaucratic Policy Decisions. American Political Science Review 104: 766782.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mayhew, D. (1974) Congress: The Electoral Connection. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
Meier, K. J. and O’Toole, L. J. Jr. (2001) Managerial Strategies and Behavior in Networks: A Model with Evidence from U.S. Public Education. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 11: 271293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Meier, K. J. and O’Toole, L. J. Jr. (2006) Political Control Versus Bureaucratic Values: Reframing the Debate. Public Administration Review 66: 177192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mills, Russell W. (2013) Congressional Modification of Benefit-Cost Analysis as a Vehicle for Particularized Benefits and a Limitation on Agency Discretion: The Case of the Federal Contract Tower Program. Journal of Benefit-Cost Analysis 4(3): 301333.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nixon, David C. (2004) Separation of Powers and Appointee Ideology. Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 20: 438457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nixon, R. (2010) Lawmakers Finance Pet Projects Without Earmarks, New York Times, 27 December.Google Scholar
Nixon, R. (2012) Congress Appears to be Trying to Get Around Earmark Ban, New York Times, 5 February.Google Scholar
O’Toole, L. J. Jr. and Meier, K. J. (1999) Modeling the Impact of Public Management: Implications of Structural Context. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 9: 505526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Poole, K. (2005) Description of NOMINATE Data, http://voteview.com/page2a.htm (accessed 22 November 2013).Google Scholar
Roberts, B. E. (1990) A Dead Senator Tells No Lies: Seniority and the Distribution of Federal Benefits. American Journal of Political Science 34(1): 3158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rundquist, B. S. and Ferejohn, J. A. (1975) Observations on a Distributive Theory of Policy-Making. In Liske C., Loehr W. and McCamant J. (eds.), Comparative Public Policy. New York, NY: John Wiley, 4568.Google Scholar
Sciara, G. (2012) Peering Inside the Pork Barrel: A Study of Congressional Earmarking in Transportation. Public Works Management and Policy 17(3): 217237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stein, R. M. and Bickers, K. N. (1995) Perpetuating the Pork Barrel: Policy Subsystems and American Democracy. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ting, M. M. (2012) Legislatures, Bureaucracies, and Distributive Spending. American Political Science Review 106(2): 367385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
United States Congressional Research Service (2013) Sequestration at the FAA: Air Traffic Controller Furloughs and Congressional Response, CRS Report 43065, United States Congressional Research Service, 7 May.Google Scholar
United States Contract Tower Association (USTCA) (2011) Annual Report 2011, http://www.contracttower.org/annual.html.Google Scholar
United States Contract Tower Association (USTCA) (2013) Annual Report 2013, http://www.contracttower.org/annual.html.Google Scholar
Wilson, J. Q. (1989) Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It. New York, NY: Basic Books.Google Scholar
16
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Agency policy preferences, congressional letter-marking and the allocation of distributive policy benefits*
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Agency policy preferences, congressional letter-marking and the allocation of distributive policy benefits*
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Agency policy preferences, congressional letter-marking and the allocation of distributive policy benefits*
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *