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The Market for Congressional Votes: Is Timing of Contributions Everything?

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  • Stratmann, Thomas

Abstract

This study utilizes the timing of campaign contributions to identify whether the objective of Political Action Committees (PACs) is to influence congressional votes or solely to elect a preferred candidate. The results show that PAC behavior is consistent with an attempt to purchase congressional votes and to influence elections. Contributions increase in the weeks surrounding legislative events of importance to PACs and elections. The magnitude of increased contributions is examined. The article also addresses the lack of legal enforcement mechanisms in vote-for-contribution agreements. It develops hypotheses regarding the timing of contributions as an inexpensive mechanism to assure contractual performance. Hypotheses are tested regarding PACs' incentives to mitigate potential cheating by legislators on such agreements. Results show that PACs use the timing of contributions as a mechanism to prevent legislators from reneging on vote-for-contribution trades. Copyright 1998 by the University of Chicago.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law & Economics.

Volume (Year): 41 (1998)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 85-113

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:41:y:1998:i:1:p:85-113

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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