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Contribution limits and the effectiveness of campaign spending

  • Thomas Stratmann

    ()

Much work on the apparent ineffectiveness on incumbent spending in congressional elections has hypothesized that the productivity of incumbent spending is low because incumbents operate on the “flat part” of their election returns function. Differences in campaign spending associated with state campaign finance laws allows for a test of this hypothesis because restrictions on campaign contributions tend to reduce campaign spending. Exploiting cross-state variation in campaign finance laws, this study tests whether campaign expenditures by state House candidates are more productive when candidates are subject to contribution limits. The results show that campaign expenditures by incumbents and challengers are more productive when candidates run in states with campaign contribution limits, as opposed to in states without limits. In states with contribution limits, incumbent spending and challenger spending are equally productive, and spending by both candidates is quantitatively important in increasing their vote shares. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-006-9066-4
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 129 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 461-474

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:129:y:2006:i:3:p:461-474
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Daniel Houser & Thomas Stratmann, 2006. "Selling Favors in the Lab: Experiments on Campaign Finance Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 1727, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. 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.
  6. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521894753 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Koenker, Roger W & Bassett, Gilbert, Jr, 1978. "Regression Quantiles," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 33-50, January.
  8. 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.
  9. Coates, Dennis, 1998. " Additional Incumbent Spending Really Can Harm (at Least Some) Incumbents: An Analysis of Vote Share Maximization," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1-2), pages 63-87, April.
  10. Stratmann, Thomas, 2002. "Can Special Interests Buy Congressional Votes? Evidence from Financial Services Legislation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 345-73, October.
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