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Title: Congress, Bargaining, and the Distribution of Grants
Authors: Rosenstiel, Leah
Advisors: McCarty, Nolan
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: Congress
Formula Grants
Political Institutions
Subjects: Political science
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: In this dissertation, I seek to understand how Congress designs federal grant programs and what the consequences of that process are for the effectiveness of these programs. I show how institutional features, such as the committee system and majority rule, interact with the structure of grants-in-aid to influence the policymaking process. In doing so, I speak to the important question of whether Congress is well designed to create to effective policies. I develop a theory of congressional bargaining over the formulas used to allocate grants and test the theory using an original dataset of Senate amendments. The results suggest that congressional rules and political considerations shape, and at times distort, federal grant programs. For instance, I find that legislators design programs to procure additional funding for their states, and states represented by members of key congressional committees disproportionately benefit. Further, I show how coalitions are shaped by the status quo policy and the distribution of population, poverty, and other measures of need across states. Together, these results illustrate how institutional features, such as the committee system and majority rule, influence the policymaking process. Moreover, the results suggest that the congressional committee system combined with legislators' self interests can improve the targeting of federal funding to the areas with the highest need. However, in certain cases, majority and supermajority rules limit committees' abilities to target funding. Finally, I examine the downstream effects of this policymaking process. I show that the additional funding members of key Senate committees are able to procure for their states translates into important policy outcomes. I find that school districts hire more teachers and see an increase in high school completion when their Senators join the Senate committee with jurisdiction over education.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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