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The geography of federal fiscal politics in the United States of America: an exploration

  • Political Science


Two of the major tasks of government are representing the interests of citizens and making budgetary allocations for the provision of public goods and services. In the United States of America, these two tasks are interdependent and both have a territorial base; elected members represent particular parts of the country and, in performing their representational role, advance the interests of the people living in the areas they represent. The result, according to both popular and academic theory, is pork-barrel politics, whereby representatives seek to direct a substantial portion of that part of the budget under their control to the benefits of their constituents. Academic analyses seeking the consequent geographical element to federal spending in the USA have failed in general however to substantiate that hypothesis. In this paper, I review that literature and suggest reasons for the failures.

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