Party, Electoral Vulnerability, and Earmarks in the U.S. House of Representatives

28 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2008

See all articles by Jeffrey Lazarus

Jeffrey Lazarus

Georgia State University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 18, 2008

Abstract

Very little attention has been paid to the relationship between House members' electoral vulnerability and the amount of federal spending they procure for their districts. I argue that vulnerable members receive more spending than safe members, on average, but only if they are in the majority party. The majority party has a greater degree of control over spending than the minority party, and party leaders have an interest in protecting vulnerable members, but only those of their own party. This implies that the majority leadership should "protect" projects which are electorally beneficial to their party's vulnerable members, but prevent the minority party from doing the same. Examinations of three different datasets of earmark distribution in the U.S. House from the past 15 years confirm that the expected relationship exists within the majority, but not within the minority.

Keywords: Congress, Earmarks, Distributive Politics, Pork Barrel, Parties

Suggested Citation

Lazarus, Jeffrey, Party, Electoral Vulnerability, and Earmarks in the U.S. House of Representatives (April 18, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1125290 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1125290

Jeffrey Lazarus (Contact Author)

Georgia State University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Atlanta, GA 30302
United States

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