"One Man, One Dollar"? Campaign contribution limits, equal influence, and political communication
Arguably the most important campaign finance regulations in U.S. federal elections are limits imposed on individual campaign contributions. One of the principal arguments in support of these contribution limits has been that they equalize the influence of individual donors and thereby cause candidates' aggregate financial resources to more accurately reflect public support. I construct a formal model to evaluate this argument. The analysis shows that a necessary condition for it to apply is that a candidate's reliance on large contributions is negatively related to voter-preferred characteristics which cannot be credibly revealed through campaign advertisements. Using data on elections to the House of Representatives between 1992 and 2000, I find no evidence that such a relationship exists. This result casts doubt on the equalization argument in support of campaign contribution limits.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995.
"The Swing Voter's Curse,"
1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Stephen Coate, 2001.
"Political Competition with Campaign Contributions and Informative Advertising,"
NBER Working Papers
8693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Stephen Coate, 2004. "Political Competition with Campaign Contributions and Informative Advertising," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 772-804, 09.
- Andrea Prat & Riccardo Puglisi & James Snyder, 2005.
"Is Private Campaign Finance a Good Thing? Estimates of the Potential Informational Benefits,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
122247000000000960, David K. Levine.
- Prat, Andrea & Puglisi, Riccardo & Snyder, James M., 2010. "Is Private Campaign Finance a Good Thing? Estimates of the Potential Informational Benefits," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 5(3), pages 291-318, December.
- Riccardo Puglisi & Andrea Prat & James Snyder, 2006. "Is private campaign finance a good thing? estimates of the potential informational benefits," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10393, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
- Gene Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1994.
"Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics,"
NBER Working Papers
4877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 265-286.
- Dhammika Dharmapala & Filip Palda, 2001.
"Are Campaign Contributions a Form of Speech? Evidence from Recent US House Elections,"
- Dharmapala, Dhammika & Palda, Filip, 2002. "Are Campaign Contributions a Form of Speech? Evidence from Recent US House Elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 112(1-2), pages 81-114, July.
- Prat, Andrea, 1999.
"Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
2152, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Potters, J.J.M. & Sloof, R. & van Winden, F.A.A.M., 1997.
"Campaign Expenditures, Contributions and Direct Endorsements : The Strategic Use of Information and Money to Influence Voter Behavior,"
1997-27, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- 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.
- Potters, J.J.M. & Sloof, R. & van Winden, F.A.A.M., 1997. "Campaign expenditures, contributions and direct endorsements. The strategic use of information and money to influence voter behaviour," Other publications TiSEM 347b9f99-149a-4ab3-966f-f, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
- Stephen Coate, 2004. "Pareto-Improving Campaign Finance Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 628-655, June.
- David Austen-Smith, 1987. "Interest groups, campaign contributions, and probabilistic voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 123-139, January.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:3-4:p:514-531. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.