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Competition policy for elections: Do campaign contribution limits matter?

  • Thomas Stratmann
  • Francisco J.
  • Aparicio-Castillo


This paper examines whether campaign contribution restrictions have consequences for election outcomes. States are a natural laboratory to examine this issue. We analyze elections to Assemblies from 1980 to 2001 and determine whether candidates' vote shares are altered by changes in state campaign contribution restrictions. We find that limits on giving narrow the margin of victory of the winning candidate. Limits lead to closer elections for future incumbents, but have less effect on the margin of victory of incumbents who passed the campaign finance legislation. We also find some evidence that contribution limits increase the number of candidates in the race. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 127 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 177-206

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:127:y:2006:i:1:p:177-206
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  1. 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.
  2. Grier, Kevin B & Munger, Michael C, 1991. "Committee Assignments, Constituent Preferences, and Campaign Contributions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(1), pages 24-43, January.
  3. Stratmann, Thomas, 1995. "Campaign Contributions and Congressional Voting: Does the Timing of Contributions Matter?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 77(1), pages 127-36, February.
  4. Christian Schultz & Ignacio Ortuño Ortín, 2000. "Public Funding Of Political Parties," Working Papers. Serie AD 2000-27, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  5. 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.
  6. Stephen Coate, 2004. "Pareto-Improving Campaign Finance Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 628-655, June.
  7. Prat, Andrea, 2002. "Campaign Spending with Office-Seeking Politicians, Rational Voters, and Multiple Lobbies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 162-189, March.
  8. Randall S. Kroszner & Thomas Stratmann, 1996. "Interest Group Competition and the Organization of Congress:Theory And Evidence from Financial Services Political Action Committees," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 126, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  9. Angrist, Joshua D., 1991. "Grouped-data estimation and testing in simple labor-supply models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2-3), pages 243-266, February.
  10. 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.
  11. Snyder, James M, Jr, 1992. "Long-Term Investing in Politicians; or, Give Early, Give Often," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 15-43, April.
  12. Mueller, Dennis C & Stratmann, Thomas, 1994. " Informative and Persuasive Campaigning," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 81(1-2), pages 55-77, October.
  13. Jeffrey Milyo, 1997. "The economics of political campaign finance: FECA and the puzzle of the not very greedy grandfathers," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 93(3), pages 245-270, December.
  14. 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.
  15. Stratmann, Thomas, 1992. "Are Contributions Rational? Untangling Strategies of Political Action Committees," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 647-64, June.
  16. Bronars, Stephen G & Lott, John R, Jr, 1997. "Do Campaign Donations Alter How a Politician Votes? Or, Do Donors Support Candidates Who Value the Same Things That They Do?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(2), pages 317-50, October.
  17. Stratmann, Thomas, 1998. "The Market for Congressional Votes: Is Timing of Contributions Everything?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 85-113, April.
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