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Political Connections, Allocation of Stimulus Spending, and the Jobs Multiplier
NBER
2024.06.18
We study the role of firms’ political influence on the effectiveness of government spending using ARRA as a laboratory. Through an IV approach, we show that a 10 percentage points increase in the share of politically connected spending lowers the job creation effect of stimulus by 33 percent at the state level. We exploit ex-post close state-level elections to establish that firms that contributed to winning candidates create fewer jobs after winning grants. Using a quantitative general equilibrium model, we show that politically connected spending also lowers the aggregate jobs multiplier, and that the dampening effect is rationalized by connected firms charging higher markups.