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The Electoral Benefits of Distributive Spending

Jeffrey Lazarus and Shauna Reilly
Political Research Quarterly
Vol. 63, No. 2 (JUNE 2010), pp. 343-355
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. on behalf of the University of Utah
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20721495
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Electoral Benefits of Distributive Spending
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Abstract

Prior studies search for evidence that distributive spending influences Congress members' vote shares but find limited evidence. The authors argue that Democratic and Republican members each benefit from different types of distributive projects. Democrats benefit from delivering spending projects (what most people think of as "pork") to their constituents, while many Republican members benefit from delivering contingent liabilities (in which the federal treasury underwrites a private entity's financial risk). Empirical tests using data from U.S. House elections between 1984 and 2002 generally confirm these hypotheses, with one exception: only Republicans in relatively conservative districts gain from contingent liabilities. This result is further explored in the text.

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