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Do State Campaign Finance Reforms Reduce Public Corruption?

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Abstract

The Supreme Court has long held that campaign finance regulations are permissible for the purpose of preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption. Yet the implied hypothesis that campaign finance reforms are effective tools for combating public corruption has gone essentially untested. We conduct the first systematic evaluation of the effects of campaign finance laws on actual corruption rates in the states. We examine the effects of state reforms on both convictions and filings in public corruption cases over the last 25 years; overall, we find no strong or convincing evidence that state campaign finance reforms reduce public corruption. Earlier research that employs similar methods also finds little support for the contention that state campaign finance regulations increase public trust and confidence in government. Together, these results call into question the legal rationale for campaign finance regulations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 1301.

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Length: 48 pgs.
Date of creation: 17 Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:1301

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Keywords: public corruption; campaign finance; regulation;

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