Women in Congress Bring More Money to Their Districts than Men

Thursday, September 17, 2009
Zoe Lofgren

It ain’t the man who knows how to bring home the bacon when it comes to pork barrel spending. According to Erika Lovley of Politico, researchers at Stanford University and the University of Chicago have concluded that women lawmakers, on average, do a better job of bringing home federal funds to their districts, and are more productive than men when it comes to introducing legislation and garnering co-sponsors.

After examining the performance of House members from 1984 to 2004, academics discovered women round up 9% more discretionary spending for their districts than their male counterparts. Congresswoman Judy Biggert from Illinois delivered $382 million for her district in her first year in office—$70 million more than her predecessor, Harris Fawell, brought home in his last year. The same goes for Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren of California ($859 million vs. $541 million by her predecessor, Don Edwards), and Connie Morella, who outdid her predecessor, Michael Barnes, by $183 million in delivering $780 million.
Why are women better at getting earmarks for their districts? Researchers say it has to do with the struggle women go through just to get elected to office—they have to work extra hard to prove they belong, and that modus operandi carries over once they’re in office working on appropriations and drafting new bills.
Overall, women have constituted just 2% of Congress since its founding. These days the rate is up to almost 17%.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Study: Women Lawmakers Outperform Men (by Erika Lovley, Politico)


Chuck P 14 years ago
This information is useless unless it controls for party. Democrats tend to try and bring home more pork than Republicans and historically more female members have been in the Democratic party. If anyone is interested in taking a closer look at earmarks there's a great website where you can search every lawmakers' earmark request with a great level of detail. The house GOP put it together. sunshine.gop.gov

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