Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy > Vol 1 > Issue 4

Pork during Pandemics: Federal Spending and Public Health Crises

Nicholas G. Napolio, University of Southern California, USA,
Suggested Citation
Nicholas G. Napolio (2020), "Pork during Pandemics: Federal Spending and Public Health Crises", Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy: Vol. 1: No. 4, pp 507-521.

Publication Date: 18 Nov 2020
© 2020 N. G. Napolio
Bureaucracy,  Executive politics,  Federalism,  Government,  Intergovernmental relations,  Political economy,  Presidential politics,  Public administration,  Public policy,  Principal-agent


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In this article:
Pandemic Spending in the United States 
COVID-19 Spending 
Discussion and Conclusion 


The United States has faced four salient pandemics in the twenty-first century: H1N1 or Swine Flu in 2009, Ebola in 2014, Zika in 2017, and COVID-19 in 2020. Each pandemic garnered significant public attention, prompting Congress to act by allocating emergency funds to states, localities, and federal agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services. This article asks: during pandemics, do actors in the Executive Branch continue to pursue parochial distributions of much needed funds? How, if at all, do the exigencies related to public health emergencies alter the distributive outputs of political institutions? Using spending data pursuant to four pandemics from eight federal agencies, I show that pandemic spending is less parochial than spending during normal times. I also contrast pandemic spending with other public health spending to isolate the effect of pandemics from general public health spending.



Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, Volume 1, Issue 4 Special issue - The Political Economy of Pandemics, Part I
See the other articles that are part of this special issue.