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Money Talks: Deterring Quality Challengers in Congressional Elections

Author

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  • Epstein, David
  • Zemsky, Peter

Abstract

We examine the role of incumbent fundraising in deterring strong challengers. We construct a signaling model in which incumbents can use fundraising strategically to ward off quality challengers. We show, however, that only under very limited circumstances will there be an observable relationship between fundraising and challenger quality. Therefore, previous empirical tests for deterrence have systematically underestimated the effects of fundraising in decreasing electoral competition. Our analysis also suggests that by making fundraising easily observable, Federal Election Commission regulations may encourage candidates to overinvest time and resources accumulating large war chests instead of governing.

Suggested Citation

  • Epstein, David & Zemsky, Peter, 1995. "Money Talks: Deterring Quality Challengers in Congressional Elections," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 89(2), pages 295-308, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:89:y:1995:i:02:p:295-308_09
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    Cited by:

    1. Poire, Alejandro, 2006. "Elements for a Theory of Political Finance," Working Paper Series rwp06-014, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Brendan Daley & Erik Snowberg, 2007. "A MultiDimensional Signaling Model of Campaign Finance," Discussion Papers 06-027, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    3. Potters, Jan & Sloof, Randolph & van Winden, Frans, 1997. "Campaign expenditures, contributions and direct endorsements: The strategic use of information and money to influence voter behavior," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-31, February.
    4. Yasmine Bekkouche & Julia Cage, 2019. "The Heterogeneous Price of a Vote: Evidence from France, 1993-2014," Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers 2019-09, Sciences Po Departement of Economics.
    5. Thomas Stratmann, 2006. "Contribution limits and the effectiveness of campaign spending," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 461-474, December.
    6. Thomas Stratmann, 2005. "Some talk: Money in politics. A (partial) review of the literature," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 135-156, July.
    7. Yasmine Bekkouche & Julia Cage, 2018. "The Price of a Vote: Evidence from France, 1993-2014," Working Papers Series 68, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
    8. Thomas Stratmann, 2003. "Tainted Money? Contribution Limits and the Effectiveness of Campaign Spending," CESifo Working Paper Series 1044, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Milyo, Jeffrey & Groseclose, Timothy, 1999. "The Electoral Effects of Incumbent Wealth," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(2), pages 699-722, October.
    10. Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey S., 2002. "Costly signaling and cheap talk in models of political influence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 263-280, June.
    11. Herman Bakvis & Jennifer Smith, 1997. "Third-Party Advertising and Electoral Democracy: The Political Theory of the Alberta Court of Appeal in Somerville v. Canada (Attorney General) [1996]," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 23(2), pages 164-178, June.
    12. Stratmann, Thomas, 2005. "Ballot access restrictions and candidate entry in elections," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 59-71, March.

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