This research examines the distribution of federal expenditures in the United States. One widely accepted model states that legislators organize the distribution of expenditures for re-election purposes and that it is done in a way that leads to serious inefficiencies in policy making. This research, while building on this model, asks whether distributive politics can be effective in targeting need and solving problems. The project develops a comprehensive data set on the geographical distribution of federal expenditures in four policy areas: health, crime, transportation and agriculture. These data are arranged as a pooled, cross-sectional time series and are analyzed using a system of simultaneous equations. The research challenges conventional wisdom concerning distributive politics.