Interest Group Responses to Reform Efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives: The Case of Big Sugar
15 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2021
Date Written: October 2021
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: Suggested Citation