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Are PACs Trying to Influence Politicians or Voters?

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Author Info

  • Stephen D. Levitt

Abstract

Political Action Committees (PACs) can affect public policies in either of two ways: altering legislators' roll-call voting behavior, or influencing election outcomes. This paper develops a dynamic model demonstrating that the relative importance of the election-influencing channel is easily underestimated. A one-time contribution to a candidate who supports the PAC's position that alters an election outcome yields benefits to the PAC as long as that candidate holds office. In contrast, roll-call vote buying is likely to operate on a quid-pro-quo basis, limiting the PAC's return on investment. Empirical tests based on the theoretical model suggest that PACs value the election-influencing aspect of contributions at least as much as the roll-call vote-buying channel. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd 1998.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Economic and Politics.

Volume (Year): 10 (1998)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 19-35

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Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:10:y:1998:i:1:p:19-35

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Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0954-1985

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Cited by:
  1. Paul Heaton, 2005. "Oil for What?—Illicit Iraqi Oil Contracts and the U.N. Security Council," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(4), pages 193-206, Fall.
  2. James E. Anderson & Thomas J. Prusa, 2001. "Political Market Structure," NBER Working Papers 8371, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Revold Entov & Alexander Radygin, 2012. "Failures of the State: Theory and Policy," Working Papers 0053, Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, revised 2013.

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