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Campaign finance regulation with competing interest groups

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  • Ujhelyi, Gergely

Abstract

Regulatory caps on contributions to political campaigns are the cornerstones of campaign finance legislation in many established democracies, and their introduction is considered by most emerging ones. Are these regulations desirable? This paper studies contribution caps in a menu auction lobbying model with limited budgets and costly entry. In the absence of entry, contribution caps improve welfare by "leveling the political playing field". With entry, however, a competition effect and a bargaining effect may arise, resulting in inefficient entry and exit decisions. In particular, a cap may lead to worse policies than the status quo; and even if better policies are chosen, the resulting gain in welfare may be more than offset by the entry costs. Regulation can also lead to the simultaneous entry of competing groups, creating costly rent-seeking on issues previously unaffected by lobbying.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 93 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (April)
Pages: 373-391

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:3-4:p:373-391

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

Related research

Keywords: Campaign finance regulation Common agency Budget constraints Lobby formation;

References

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  1. Devashish Mitra, 1999. "Endogenous Lobby Formation and Endogenous Protection: A Long-Run Model of Trade Policy Determination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1116-1134, December.
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  7. Martín Rama & Guido Tabellini, . "Lobbying by Capital and Labor over Trade and Labor Market Policies," Working Papers 94, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  8. Jean-Pierre Benoit & Vijay Krishna, 1998. "Multiple-Object Auctions with Budget Constrained Bidders," Game Theory and Information 9805001, EconWPA, revised 26 Jul 1999.
  9. Potters, Jan & Sloof, Randolph, 1996. "Interest groups: A survey of empirical models that try to assess their influence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 403-442, November.
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  13. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Protection for Sale," Papers 21-92, Tel Aviv.
  14. N. Gregory Mankiw & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Free Entry and Social Inefficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 48-58, Spring.
  15. Stephen Coate, 2004. "Pareto-Improving Campaign Finance Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 628-655, June.
  16. Allan Drazen & Nuno Limão & Thomas Stratman, 2004. "Political Contribution Caps and Lobby Formation: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 10928, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Stephen Ansolabehere & John M. de Figueiredo & James M. Snyder Jr, 2003. "Why is There so Little Money in U.S. Politics?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 105-130, Winter.
  18. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldbe & Giovanni Maggi, 1997. "Protection for Sale: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 5942, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Konrad, Kai A., 2010. "Information alliances in contests with budget limits," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" SP II 2010-21, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  2. Yosef Mealem & Shmuel Nitzan, 2014. "Equity and effectiveness of optimal taxation in contests under an all-pay auction," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 437-464, February.
  3. Petrova, Maria, 2012. "Mass media and special interest groups," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 17-38.

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