The political economy of the Essential Air Service program
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We find that congressional influences affect the amount of airport subsidies that a congressional district receives through the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. The EAS program was passed with the goal of helping to continue commercial air service to rural communities following deregulation in the 1970s. Using data from 1998–2014, we find strong and consistent evidence that subsidies are higher in districts having congressional representation on the House Transportation and Ways and Means Committees. Our empirical results, when combined with news reports of members claiming credit for securing EAS funding, are consistent with the EAS serving private and public interests.
KeywordsCongressional dominance Deregulation Airports
JEL ClassificationsD73 L93
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