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Campaign finance reform and electoral competition

  • John Lott

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    Using state senate data from 1984 through the beginning of 2002, this paper finds that campaign donation regulations clearly reduce the competitiveness in political races. This is reflected in several dimensions. Conservative estimates indicate that different donation limits are associated with anywhere from a 4 to over a 23 percentage point increase in win margins. The regulations increase the probability that only one candidate will run for office. And they increase the probability that incumbents win re-election. Campaign finance regulations also tend to reduce the number of candidates who run for office by an average of about 20 percent. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-006-9028-x
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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

    Volume (Year): 129 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 3 (December)
    Pages: 263-300

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:129:y:2006:i:3:p:263-300
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    1. Daniel, Kermit & Lott, John R, Jr, 1997. " Term Limits and Electoral Competitiveness: Evidence from California's State Legislative Races," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 90(1-4), pages 165-84, March.
    2. Kau, James B & Keenan, Donald & Rubin, Paul H, 1982. "A General Equilibrium Model of Congressional Voting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 271-93, May.
    3. Crain, W Mark & Leavens, Donald R & Tollison, Robert D, 1986. "Final Voting in Legislatures," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 833-41, September.
    4. Lott, John R, Jr, 1990. "An Explanation for Public Provision of Schooling: The Importance of Indoctrination," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 199-231, April.
    5. Bender, Bruce, 1988. "An Analysis of Congressional Voting on Legislation Limiting Congressional Campaign Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 1005-21, October.
    6. Sam Peltzman, 1980. "The Growth of Government," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 1, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    7. Stephen Coate, 2001. "Political Competition with Campaign Contributions and Informative Advertising," NBER Working Papers 8693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Crain, W Mark & Oakley, Lisa K, 1995. "The Politics of Infrastructure," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 1-17, April.
    9. Crain, William Mark & Tollison, Robert D, 1976. "Campaign Expenditures and Political Competition," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 177-88, April.
    10. Thomas Stratmann & Francisco J. & Aparicio-Castillo, 2006. "Competition policy for elections: Do campaign contribution limits matter?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 177-206, April.
    11. Milyo, Jeffrey, 1997. " The Economics of Political Campaign Finance: FECA and the Puzzle of the Not Very Greedy Grandfathers," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 93(3-4), pages 245-70, December.
    12. Dick, Andrew R. & Lott, John Jr., 1993. "Reconciling voters' behavior with legislative term limits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 1-14, January.
    13. Crain, W Mark & Tollison, Robert D, 1977. "Attenuated Property Rights and the Market for Governors," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(1), pages 205-11, April.
    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. Stephen G. Bronars & John R. Lott Jr., 1995. "Do Campaign Donations Alter How a Politician Votes?," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 118, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
    17. 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.
    18. Hersch, Philip L & McDougall, Gerald S, 1994. "Campaign War Chests as a Barrier to Entry in Congressional Races," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(4), pages 630-41, October.
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