The Effects of Earmarks on the Likelihood of Reelection
George Mason University - Buchanan Center Political Economy; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)
July 31, 2012
GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 10-16
Many models predict that incumbent legislators use government spending — “pork barrel” spending — to increase their vote shares in elections. To date, however, evidence for this hypothesis is scarce. Using recently available data on the sponsorship of earmarks in U.S. appropriations legislation, this paper tests the effects of earmarks on the likelihood of legislators’ reelection. The results show that secured earmarks lead to higher vote shares. The analysis demonstrates that a 10 million increase in earmarks leads to as much as a one percentage point increase in vote share on election day. Furthermore, the paper tests for voter responses to earmarks when earmarks have few or many sponsors.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Date posted: May 15, 2010 ; Last revised: November 5, 2013