Presidential Particularism: Distributing Funds between Alternative Objectives and Strategies
49 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2018
Date Written: 02/19/2015
While recent empirical evidence supports the notion of presidential particularism?that presidents distribute federal funds to certain groups of voters in order to achieve their own political objectives?work associated with that evidence does not distinguish between presidents' alternative objectives, nor between their alternative strategies for attaining those objectives. Using monthly US data on project-grant awards in 2009 and 2010, we study which objectives presidents pursue in distributing resources. We also address theoretical and empirical ambiguities regarding when and which congressional districts receive distributive benefits. Our results show that core constituencies of the president's party receive more federal funding in both presidential and congressional elections. Districts represented by moderate members of both parties and partisan members of the president's party do not, however, benefit from funding advantages before votes on important legislation. These results indicate that the president attempts to use distributive benefits to influence presidential and congressional election votes, but not votes of federal legislators.
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