The Delegated State and the Politics of Federal Grants

The Delegated State and the Politics of Federal Grants, 

by Sarah Reckhow (BRR working paper, September 2013]

Although many believe “pork barrel politics” is how federal money is distributed,  this paper shows that the “delegated state”–contracting out public function to the private sector—plays a large role in explaining which metro areas get a large share of federal grants and which do not. The importance of the delegated state is particularly evident during the federal stimulus in 2009 and 2010. This paper assesses the role of the delegated state, including nonprofit density, state capitals, and local government structure, in the distribution of federal grants to metropolitan areas from 1991 to 2010.