In Industrialized America, Why Do Members of Congress Favor Farm Subsidies?

That’s the title of my first Key Findings Brief (link opens a .pdf document) as a member of the Scholars Strategy Network (SSN), which I finally joined last week after putting off submitting my application materials for months and after being encouraged to do so by my coauthor Nick Carnes, who is himself co-director of the Research Triangle SSN regional network.

As per its mission statement, the SSN

brings together many of America’s leading scholars to address pressing public challenges at the national, state, and local levels. As progressive-minded citizens, SSN members spell out the democratic and policy implications of their research in ways that are broadly accessible. SSN members engage in consultations with policymakers in Washington DC and state capitals. They make regular contributions to the media and share research findings with journalists and bloggers. SSN scholars are also committed to working closely with advocates and leaders of citizen associations to come to better understandings of the nation’s social and political challenges.

The SSN is led by director Theda Skocpol, who is Victor S. Thomas Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard. Theda is also a brilliant editor, as she turned my draft Key Findings Brief into something that people will actually want to read.

What’s more, she has also written on agricultural policy herself; in her 1982 Political Science Quarterly article with Kenneth Finegold, she discussed the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 in the context of state capacity and New Deal policies.

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One comment

  1. jim jaffe

    interesting analysis and welcome to ssn. fear you may be giving inertia less credit than it deserves. traditionally members vote for farm bills because they are part of the regular order and are reported by the ag. committees with bipartisan and leadership support. fact that they geneally now include food stamps is a sweetener for urban members. in short, like most things they vote on, issues are irrelevant to most members and they don’t give them much thought, but defer to the expertise of the committees, who are self-selected and have a bias toward the status quo. this is equally true of defense bills, particularly when the House considers them under restrictive rules, which is the norm. what’s different now is the budget/tea party stress and no one’s figured out how to deal with that one yet