Greasing the Wheels: Using Pork Barrel Projects to Build Majority Coalitions in Congress

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Cambridge University Press, Jun 14, 2004 - Political Science - 267 pages
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Pork barrel projects would surely rank near the top of most observers' lists of Congress's most widely despised products. Yet, political leaders in Congress and the President often trade pork for votes to pass legislation that serves broad national purposes, giving members of Congress pork barrel projects in return for their votes on general interest legislation. It is a practice that succeeds at a cost, but it is a cost that many political leaders are willing to pay in order to enact the broader public policies that they favor. There is an irony in this: pork barrel benefits, the most reviled of Congress's legislative products, are used by policy coalition leaders to produce the type of policy that is most admired - general interest legislation. This book makes the case that buying votes with pork is one way in which Congress solves its well-known collective action problem.

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About the author (2004)

Diana Evans is Professor of Political Science at Trinity College in Connecticut. She has published widely on the impact of interest groups and political action committees on congressional decision making, as well as on turnout in congressional elections. Her articles have appeared in such journals as the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, and Political Research Quarterly. She is past president of the New England Political Science Association and has been chair of the Legislative Studies Section of the American Political Science Association. She has served on the editorial boards of the American Political Science Review and Legislative Studies Quarterly.

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