Interest Group Responses to Reform Efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives: The Case of Big Sugar

15 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2021

See all articles by Kevin B. Grier

Kevin B. Grier

Texas Tech University

Robin M. Grier

University of Oklahoma - Department of Economics

Gor Mkrtchian

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: October 2021

Abstract

The US sugar program has long delivered significant subsidies to a concentrated group of sugar growers at the expense of American consumers. In 2013, however, an amendment in the House of Representatives attempted to seriously reduce those subsidies. The amendment narrowly lost. A similar amendment was proposed in 2018. It was voted down as well, but much more handily. In this paper, we show that “Big Sugar” increased real contributions to House incumbents in the interim by more than 50%. Using a district fixed effects logit model, we also show that these contributions significantly raised the probability that the targeted representative would vote against reforming the sugar subsidies. While many argue that money does not directly affect roll-call voting, we believe that in cases where the economic interest is clear and sizeable, and the researcher can use repeat votes to account for district level unobservables, the evidence shows a significant influence of money on votes.

Keywords: Agriculture, Subsidies, Rent Seeking, Sugar

JEL Classification: D72, N52, P16

Suggested Citation

Grier, Kevin B. and Grier, Robin M. and Mkrtchian, Gor, Interest Group Responses to Reform Efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives: The Case of Big Sugar (October 2021). Free Market Institute Research Paper No. 3941501, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3941501 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3941501

Kevin B. Grier (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University ( email )

2500 Broadway
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

Robin M. Grier

University of Oklahoma - Department of Economics ( email )

729 Elm Avenue
325 Hester Hall
Norman, OK 73019-2103
United States
405 325-0581 (Phone)
405 325-5842 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/G/Kevin.B.Grier-1/

Gor Mkrtchian

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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