NYTimes Upshot features Malesky's research on pander incentives
The more intriguing question, then, is not whether these deals make sense, but why politicians and voters are so keen on them.
“It’s a little baffling, given that there seems to be such consensus on these programs,” said Nathan Jensen, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
He and Edmund Malesky at Duke University argue in a new book that much of what’s going on here is pandering by politicians. Voters want jobs, which are hard to deliver. Ribbon cuttings and splashy announcements about, say, a new Foxconn factory in Wisconsin, a new Boeing plant in South Carolina or more Nestle jobs in Indiana are the most visible way to show action on an issue voters deeply care about.