Document Type

Working Paper

Date of This Version



public finance, earmarking, environment


This paper examines whether legislators earmark funds in order to constrain the spending of future legislators with different preferences. Specifically, panel data is used to estimate the probability a new environmental earmarking law is passed as a function of Democrats holding and subsequently losing majority control of the government. The results of this study do not support this hypothesis. In fact, Democrats with a large majority who subsequently lose this majority power following the next election are found to be less likely to earmark funds for the environment. One possible explanation for this finding may be that competing forces make it more difficult for Democrats to pass legislation earmarking funds for the environment in the years before losing power, even if they have an increased incentive to do so. However, further results of this paper do not support this hypothesis. Rather, the evidence suggests Democrats do not earmark strategically.

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Economics Commons



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