Representation and public policy: The consequences of senate apportionment for the geographic distribution of federal funds

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Abstract

Political scientists have long believed that the formal arrangements of representative institutions make a difference for public policy; in spite of this, they have largely neglected to investigate the policy effects of Senate apportionment. This paper tests the hypothesis that coalition building in the Senate will produce distributions of federal funds to states reflecting the enhanced representation of small states in the Senate. Using Bickers and Stein's U.S. Domestic Assistance Programs Database, I find that, first, federal distributive programs are typically constructed so that a majority, frequently an overwhelming majority, of states benefit. Second, using a pooled cross-sectional time-series design (N = 350), I examine the distributions of federal funds to states in different types of domestic assistance programs to determine if they bear the imprint of Senate apportionment. I find that over-represented states tend to receive higher allocations of federal funds per capita, most notably in programs characterized as nondiscretionary distributive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-62
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Politics
Volume60
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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