The Returns to Lobbying: Evidence from Local Governments in the “Age of Earmarks”

Citations of this article
Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
Get full text


I measure the returns to lobbying for US local governments in terms of federal earmarks. Because a local government’s decision to lobby may be endogenous to receiving an earmark, I instrument for lobbying with local housing prices. Since the time period of my analysis covers the Housing Crisis, I argue that the variation in housing prices over this time was largely exogenous to federal earmark distributions. The strong correlation that I find between housing price growth rates and lobbying provides evidence that local governments lobbied to buffer against impending property tax losses. I find no evidence that lobbying is associated with increased earmark awards overall. However, conditional on selection into receiving an earmark, I do find evidence that lobbying served to increase the size of earmark awards.




Gordon, S. (2019). The Returns to Lobbying: Evidence from Local Governments in the “Age of Earmarks.” Public Finance Review, 47(5), 893–924.

Register to see more suggestions

Mendeley helps you to discover research relevant for your work.

Already have an account?

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free