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Did the Distribution of Ad Hoc Farm Payments Affect the 2020 Presidential Election?

AAEA members release new research in AEPP

Record government payments to US farmers between 2018 and 2020 had impacts beyond the farm gate. The Market Facilitation Program (MFP) and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) generated approximately 677,512 votes for President Trump and the Republican Party in the 2020 Presidential Election with an estimated cost-per-vote-gained of $66,124.

In the new article “Political returns to ad hoc farm payments?”, Aleks Schaefer from Oklahoma State University, Joseph Janzen from University of Illinois, Trey Malone from Michigan State University and Daniel Scheitrum from the University of Arizona, look at whether the distribution of ad hoc farm payments made under MFP and the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) affected voting patterns in the 2020 Presidential Election.

Schaefer says, “We found that MFP and CFAP payments did influence county-level voting outcomes. The response was driven primarily by increased turnout among Trump supporters, rather than "vote switching". However, the votes induced by ad hoc farm payments were insufficient to change electoral college outcomes for any U.S. state.”

If you are interested in setting up an interview, please contact Allison Ware in the AAEA Business Office.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit

Contact: Allison Ware
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