Public Choice

, Volume 165, Issue 1–2, pp 147–164 | Cite as

The political economy of the Essential Air Service program



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.


Congressional dominance Deregulation Airports 

JEL Classifications

D73 L93 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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