Pork barrel projects would surely rank near the top of most observers' lists of Congress's most widely despised products. Yet, political leaders in Congress and the President often trade pork for votes to pass legislation that serves broad national purposes, giving members of Congress pork barrel projects in return for their votes on general interest legislation. It is a practice that succeeds at a cost, but it is a cost that many political leaders are willing to pay in order to enact the broader public policies that they favor. There is an irony in this: pork barrel benefits, the most reviled of Congress's legislative products, are used by policy coalition leaders to produce the type of policy that is most admired - general interest legislation. This book makes the case that buying votes with pork is one way in which Congress solves its well-known collective action problem.
"...notably well written and clearheaded...Highly recommended." N.W. Polsby, University of California, Berkeley "This elegant book elaborates on a central insight into congressional politics: "pork barreling, despite its much maligned status, gets things done"(p.2). Evan's book thus serves as an important, balanced corrective to prevailing scholarly and journalistic views of pork barrel politics." Political Science Quarterly, Frances E. Lee, University of Maryland "This book is full of such keen observations and insights...it stands as an important and interesting study that adds to our understanding of Congress, policy entrepreneurs, and coalition information." Perspectives on Politics, Jeff Worsham, West Virginia University