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Study: Corrupt States Spend More on Highways

Posted By Angie Schmitt On June 6, 2014 @ 12:26 pm In Boondoggles,Highway Expansion,State Legislature | 14 Comments

In states with higher levels of corruption, public officials spend more on construction, roads and safety services. Image: Public Administration Review via Governing [1]

A new study found a link between highway spending and official corruption. Map: Public Administration Review via Governing [2]

A new academic study helps explain the enduring political popularity of expensive transportation boondoggles like Birmingham’s $4.7 billion Northern Beltline [3] and Kentucky’s $2.6 billion Ohio River Bridges [4].

According to research published in the journal Public Administration Review [5], states with higher levels of public corruption spend more money on highways and construction. The study found highway and construction projects and police programs provide the most opportunities for lawmakers to enrich themselves, according to Governing Magazine [2], and are positively correlated with state levels of corruption. Meanwhile, highly corrupt states also spend relatively less on health, education, and welfare — categories that were less susceptible to graft and bribery, the report found.

Public corruption for each state was ranked based on 25,000 convictions between 1976 and 2008. Overall, the authors found, the 10 most corrupt states spend $1,300 more per person annually than the average state.

Article printed from Streetsblog USA: http://usa.streetsblog.org

URL to article: http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/06/06/study-corrupt-states-spend-more-on-highways/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://usa.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/5/2014/06/corruption-map.jpg

[2] Governing: http://www.governing.com/topics/politics/gov-corruption-politics-spending-study.html

[3] Birmingham’s $4.7 billion Northern Beltline: http://usa.streetsblog.org/2013/01/28/meet-the-4-7-billion-birmingham-highway-only-cronyism-could-build/

[4] Ohio River Bridges: http://usa.streetsblog.org/2013/11/20/grassroots-efforts-crushed-by-louisvilles-2-6-billion-bridge-boondoggle/

[5] Public Administration Review: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/puar.12212/abstract

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