Pork-Barrel Politics and Polarization
Over the past three decades, congressional polarization has increased. As a result, legislative productivity has decreased: fewer bills have been passed, and we have seen more frequent episodes of political gridlock. At the same time, Congress has largely moved away from the practice of earmarking, which allows members to use the appropriations process to secure funding for “pet projects” in their home districts. This paper, authored by Aaron Hedlund and published in the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Review, examines the relationship between earmarking and polarization in Congress.