Public Choice

, Volume 155, Issue 3–4, pp 211–228 | Cite as

Bailout for sale? The vote to save Wall Street

Article

Abstract

This paper provides a public choice analysis of the 2008 banking bailout in the United States. The paper introduces heterogeneity of congressional districts into the common agency problem in special interest politics. District heterogeneity implies district-specific electoral constraints on legislators’ ability to collect rents from, and cast dissonant votes in support of, special interests. An empirical analysis examines legislative voting on the initial bailout proposal, using campaign contributions to legislators from special interest groups and the importance of financial services for employment within congressional districts as the main explanatory variables. The empirical analysis corrects for possible endogeneity bias, using valid instruments, and considers several intuitive sub-sample estimations as alternative methods for addressing the endogeneity issue. The paper provides empirical evidence that campaign contributions from the financial services sector influenced legislative voting on the banking bailout.

Keywords

Campaign finance Legislative voting Political agency Special interest politics 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The American University of ParisParisFrance

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