Military Construction Policy: A Test of Competing Explanations of Universalism in Congress
Legislative Studies Quarterly XXIII:57-78

Theories of universalism are based upon questionable assumptions that distributive benefits tend to be allocated universally, and that this pattern of allocation leads to near-unanimous floor support for many distributive benefit programs. I offer an alternative, general (or collective) benefit explanation to interpret patterns of allocation of distributive benefits and the size of floor coalitions supporting these programs. The case study of military construction policy is used to test the relative effect of general benefit and distributive benefit considerations on the size of floor support coalitions in the U.S. House of Representatives. The findings suggest important modifications of extant universalism theories.

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