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Pork-Barrel Politics and Polarization

Aaron Hedlund

Review, 2019, vol. 101, issue 1, 57-68

Abstract: This article explores how earmarks shape the ideological composition of elected officials in Congress. Relative to the classic median voter theorem, the framework developed here introduces multiple legislative districts and incorporates a desire for local earmarks in the specification of voter preferences. The main theoretical result demonstrates that competition among politicians to “bring home the bacon” substantially reduces Congressional polarization. Data from after the earmark ban of 2011 provide supporting evidence for this mechanism.

JEL-codes: D72 D78 E62 H41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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