Presidential pork: Executive veto power and distributive politics

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It is often argued that executive powers such as the veto serve to reduce particularistic spending by the legislature. I argue that the effect of the executive veto depends strongly on assumptions about both the nature of executive preferences and the institutional structure of executive-legislative bargaining. To support these claims, I develop a model of distributive policymaking subject to an executive veto. This framework incorporates variation in presidential objectives and formal powers into a dynamic bargaining model. In equilibrium, stronger veto power leads to a lower level of distributive spending, but the effects are mitigated to the extent that the president prefers spending in some districts over others. The model also generates new insights and predictions about fiscal policy under the separation of powers, including the effects of divided government, electoral rules, and term limitations for the executive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-129
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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