Project Report:
Earmarking and the Political Economy of Agricultural Research
- Investigates causes tending to destroy or impair the free-market system.


We propose to investigate the political economy of agricultural research appropriations at a highly disaggregated level in order to address a number of critical issues regarding the allocation and merits of earmarked agricultural research.

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The grant funded research and writing of two journal articles. The first is titled "The Strange Budgetary Politics of Agricultural Research Earmarks" by MARC T. LAW and JOSEPH M. TONON.

This article explores how members of the House and Senate Subcommittees on Agricultural Appropriations use the appropriations process to earmark special grants for agricultural research projects without forming a majority logroll. It also shows how subcommittee members coerce the USDA into administering individual earmarked research grants even though the precise allocation of these grants does not have the force of law. This article makes an important contribution because it analyzes an institutional development within the appropriations process that has not been explored in the existing literature, and it examines the consequences that this development has had on the quality of USDA-funded agricultural research.

The second article is titled "Earmarked: The Political Economy of Agricultural Research Appropriations" by Marc T. Law, Joseph M. Tonon, and Gary J. Miller.

Since 1965 a significant portion of the US Department of Agriculture’s extramural research budget has been earmarked by Congress for particular research projects. We analyze the process by which a minority of Congress induces the USDA to carry out its budgetary suggestions. We present evidence demonstrating the influence that appropriators possess over the allocation of earmarked grants. Finally, we argue that this program provides an excellent illustration of path-dependence in government policy, and that an understanding of the special grants program may shed light on the decline of science at the USDA and Congress’s reluctance to increase agricultural research funding.

Information Dissemination

The first paper was published in:

Public Budgeting Finance (2006)
Volume: 26, Issue: 3, Pages: 1-21
ISSN: 02751100

The second paper was published in:

ReviewofAgriculturalEconomics—Volume30, Number2—Pages194–213

Amount Approved
$20,000.00 on 6/1/2005 (Check sent: 6/1/2005)

  Related Organizations
Washington University  

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Budgetary Politics of Agricultural Research Earmarks - Paper (PDF)
Earmarked: The Political Economy of Agricultural Research Appropriations (PDF)

(314) 935-5689
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Gloria Lucy
Marc T. Law
Assistant Professor, University of Vermont

Posted 11/1/2011 11:56 AM
Updated   9/15/2012 9:00 PM

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