Perpetuating the Pork Barrel: Policy Subsystems and American Democracy / Edition 1

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Stein and Bickers explore the policy subsystems—links among members of Congress, interest groups, government agencies—that blanket the American political landscape. They employ a new data base detailing federal outlays to Congressional districts for each federal program to examine four myths about the impact of policy subsystems on American government: that policy subsystems are a major contributor to the federal deficit, that federal programs grow and rarely die, that subsystem actors seek to universalize the scope of program benefits, and that the flow of program benefits to constituencies ensures legislators' reelection.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a major contribution to the literature on the U.S. Congress and fiscal policy. It is not a narrow empirical study of federal spending that will be of interest only to academics. It offers a broad perspective....will be of interest to informed laypersons as well as scholars." Perspectives on Political Science

"...a comprehensive and well argued challenge to the theory of 'universalism' in explaining how and why federal funds are distributed throughout districts....This book is important for any student of institutions, especially those interested in Congress, interest groups or the federal bureaucracy. It presents a persuasive alternative model to universalism in explaining the distribution of federal funds. In addition, the Stein and Bickers model can be applied to other levels of government (i.e. state and local government), and across countries with different institutional arrangements. In sum, Perpetuating the Pork Barrel is a very well written book that is both theoretically and empirically strong." Congress and the Presidency

"The book rectifies previous research by showing that pork barrel politics is more interactive and complex than had been thought and reports interesting specific findings....This fine book should occupy an enduring place in the policy-making literature." Choice

"Readers of this book will be impressed by the frequency with which the authors' findings call into question conventional wisdom and suggest alternative, yet reasonable interpretations for the existence of federal programs....[it] further refines our understanding of program inception, preservation, and expansion. As such, it will become expected reading for anyone hoping to fully understand policy subsystems." Journal of Politics

"...Stein and Bickers's Perpetuating the Pork Barrel refines our understanding of program inception, preservation, and expansion. As such, it will become expected reading for anyone hoping to gain a better understanding of policy subsystems." Michael K. Moore, The Journal of Politics

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521595841
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2010
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Part I: 1. Policy subsystems and the pork barrel; Part II: 2. The Programmatic expansion of US domestic spending; 3. The geographic scope of domestic spending: a test of the universalism thesis; Part III: 4. A portfolio theory of policy subsystems; 5. PAC contributions and the distribution of domestic assistance programs; 6. Policy subsystem adaptability and resilience in the Reagan period; 7. Congressional elections and the pork barrel; Part IV: 8. Policy subsystems in practice and democratic theory; Appendices.

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