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Voter Behavior and Seniority Advantage in Pork Barrel Politics

Rodet, Cortney S. (2011): Voter Behavior and Seniority Advantage in Pork Barrel Politics.

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Abstract

This paper uses experiments to explore electoral accountability in a legislative system that favors seniority. Voters face a trade-off between pork barrel transfers and policy representation. Term limits are tested as a mechanism to reduce the cost of searching for a legislator who better represents voters on policy, as well as reducing the resulting asymmetric distribution of income. Subjects’ preferences on abortion are used in an innovative means of capturing incumbents’ policy choices where subject legislators vote to determine whether a donation is allocated to either a pro-choice or pro-life foundation.

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