When do Legislators Pass on Pork? The Role of Political Parties in Determining Legislator Effort

44 Pages Posted: 26 May 2008

See all articles by Philip Keefer

Philip Keefer

Inter-American Development Bank

Stuti Khemani

World Bank; World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)


A central challenge in political economy is to identify the conditions under which legislators seek to bring home the pork to constituents. We conduct the first systematic analysis of one determinant of constituency service, voter attachment to political parties, holding constant electoral and political institutions. Our analysis takes advantage of data from a unique type of public spending program that is proliferating across developing countries, the constituency development fund (CDF), which offers more precise measures of legislator effort than are common in the literature. Examining the CDF in India, we find that legislator effort is significantly lower in constituencies that are party strongholds. This result, which is robust to controls for alternate explanations, implies that legislators pass on pork when voters are more attached to political parties. It has implications not only for understanding political incentives and the dynamics of party formation, but also for evaluating the impact of CDFs.

Keywords: political parties, constituency service, pork barrel, affirmative action, institutions, elections, legislator effort

JEL Classification: D72, D78, H42

Suggested Citation

Keefer, Philip and Khemani, Stuti, When do Legislators Pass on Pork? The Role of Political Parties in Determining Legislator Effort. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1136870 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1136870

Philip Keefer (Contact Author)

Inter-American Development Bank ( email )

1300 New York Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States
202-623-1961 (Phone)

Stuti Khemani

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/skhemani

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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