Kosher Pork

44 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2011

See all articles by Allan Drazen

Allan Drazen

University of Maryland - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Ethan Ilzetzki

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 2011

Abstract

Both conventional wisdom and leading academic research view pork barrel spending as antithetical to responsible policymaking in times of crisis. In this paper we present an alternative view. When agents are heterogeneous in their ideology and in their information about the economic situation, allocation of pork may enable passage of legislation appropriate to a "crisis" that might otherwise not pass. Pork "greases the legislative wheels" not by bribing legislators to accept legislation they view as harmful, but by conveying information about the necessity of policy change, where it may be impossible to convey such information in the absence of pork. Pork may be used for this function in situations where all legislators would agree to forgo pork under full information. Moreover, pork will be observed when the public good is most valuable precisely because it is valuable and the informed agenda setter wants to convey this information.

Suggested Citation

Drazen, Allan and Ilzetzki, Ethan, Kosher Pork (January 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w16667. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1737215

Allan Drazen (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742-1815
United States
301-405-3477 (Phone)
301-405-7835 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ethan Ilzetzki

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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