The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Distributive Politics and Targeted Public Spending

  • Brian G. Knight
Reference work entry


This article analyses common pool problems associated with the provision of local public goods by central legislatures. In response to incentives associated with common pool problems, legislators act to maximize spending for their home jurisdiction but to restrain spending elsewhere due to the associated tax costs. The resolution of this conflict between jurisdictions depends in the United States upon the distribution of political power across Congressional delegations. Incumbents are rewarded for delivering federal spending to their jurisdiction through increased voter support.


Common pool problems Distributive politics Earmarked projects Lobbying Local public goods Proposal power Targeted public spending 

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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian G. Knight
    • 1
  1. 1.