Pork barrel

appropriation of government spending

Pork barrel is the appropriation of government spending for localized projects that are secured primarily to bring money to a representative's district. The usage originated in American English.[1] It was a reference to the custom of slave owners giving a gift of Salt pork in a barrel to their slaves.[1] In election campaigns, the term is used in a negative way to attack opponents. However, scholars use it as a technical term regarding legislative control of local appropriations.[2][3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Tom Wakeford; Jasber Singh, "Towards Empowered Participation: Stories and Reflections" (London; International Institute for Environment and Development, 2008), p. 50, n. 2
  2. Bickers, Kenneth N.; Stein, Robert M. (2008). "The Congressional Pork Barrel in a Republican Era". The Journal of Politics. 62 (4). doi:10.1111/0022-3816.00046. JSTOR 2647865.
  3. Shepsle, Kenneth A. and Weingast, Barry R. (1981). "Political Preferences for the Pork Barrel: A Generalization". American Journal of Political Science. 25 (1): 96–111. doi:10.2307/2110914. JSTOR 2110914.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)