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Pass the Pork: Measuring Legislator Shares in Congress

  • Benjamin E. Lauderdale (a1)

Linear regression models are frequently used to analyze distributive politics in the U.S. Congress; however, authors have used a variety of specifications with different implicit assumptions about how bicameralism shapes legislative bargaining. I derive a model that describes district or state spending authorizations as the aggregation of spending secured by multiple legislators working on behalf of overlapping constituencies. This bicameral shares model allows the disaggregation of House and Senate influence through simultaneous estimation of the relative bargaining power of the two chambers and the advantages that accrue to legislators holding partisan, committee, and other relevant affiliations. In the 2005 transportation bill, the model better predicts the functional form of small state advantage than recently employed specifications in the literature.

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Steven J. Balla , Eric D. Lawrence , Forrest Maltzman , and Lee Sigelman . 2002. Partisanship, blame avoidance, and the distribution of legislative pork. American Journal of Political Science 46: 515–25.

Diana Evans . 2004. Greasing the wheels: Using pork barrel projects to build majority coalitions in Congress. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

William R. Hauk , and Romain Wacziarg . 2007. Small states, big pork. Quarterly Journal of Political Science 2: 95106.

Brian G. Knight 2004. Parochial interests and the centralized provision of local public goods: Evidence from congressional voting on transportation projects. Journal of Public Economics 88: 845–66.

Frances E. Lee 2003. Geographic politics in the U.S. house of representatives: Coalition building and distribution of benefits. American Journal of Political Science. 47: 714–28.

Nolan McCarty . 2000. Proposal rights, veto rights, and political bargaining. American Journal of Political Science 44: 506–22.

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Political Analysis
  • ISSN: 1047-1987
  • EISSN: 1476-4989
  • URL: /core/journals/political-analysis
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