The Political Economy of Government-Financed Boondoggles
By Art Carden
The Alabama Music Hall of Fame has been closed since November. The article linked here points out that over the course of the museum’s existence, the taxpayer subsidy has worked out to about $33 per visitor. I skimmed down to the comments and came across an interesting and plausible claim–“One of their favorite tricks is to run the school kids through on field trips to increase the visitor count.”
This raises what I think could be a set of interesting research questions: what is the relationship between government-financed operations like music Halls of Fame and local education? What percentage of museum visitors come from school field trips? How does this play politically? Might spending on things like the Alabama Music Hall of Fame be classified as “education spending”? To what extent are things like this exercises in Helen Lovejoy Political Economy? Are the schools vocal constituencies when it comes to funding for such ventures?