IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Interest groups, campaign contributions, and probabilistic voting


  • David Austen-Smith


This essay develops a simple model to analyze the impact of campaign contributions on electoral-policy decisions of candidates for office. Interest groups here are firms that select contributions under the assumption that candidates' policies and opposing groups' donations remain unaltered. Candidates, however, recognize that their policy choices affect contributions. Campaign contributions are used by candidates to affect policy-oriented voters' perceptions of candidates' positions. In this framework the introduction of campaign contributions may affect candidates' electoral policies, and if they do then they benefit surely exactly one of the two interest groups. Copyright Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1987

Suggested Citation

  • David Austen-Smith, 1987. "Interest groups, campaign contributions, and probabilistic voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 123-139, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:54:y:1987:i:2:p:123-139
    DOI: 10.1007/BF00123002

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hinich, Melvin J. & Ledyard, John O. & Ordeshook, Peter C., 1972. "Nonvoting and the existence of equilibrium under majority rule," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 144-153, April.
    2. David Austen-Smith, 1981. "Party policy and campaign costs in a multi-constituency model of electoral competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 389-402, January.
    3. John Chamberlin, 1978. "A collective goods model of pluralist political systems," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 97-113, December.
    4. Enelow,James M. & Hinich,Melvin J., 1984. "The Spatial Theory of Voting," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521275156, December.
    5. Shepsle, Kenneth A., 1972. "The Strategy of Ambiguity: Uncertainty and Electoral Competition," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 555-568, June.
    6. William Welch, 1974. "The economics of campaign funds," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 83-97, December.
    7. W. Welch, 1980. "The allocation of political monies: Economic interest groups," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 97-120, January.
    8. Uri Ben-Zion & Zeev Eytan, 1974. "On money, votes, and policy in a democratic society," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 1-10, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Potters, Jan & Sloof, Randolph, 1996. "Interest groups: A survey of empirical models that try to assess their influence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 403-442, November.
    2. Susan A. Edelman, 1992. "Two Politicians, A Pac, And How They Interact: Two Extensive Form Games," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(3), pages 289-306, November.
    3. Donald Wittman, 1984. "Multi-candidate equilibria," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 287-291, January.
    4. Tanner, Thomas Cole, 1994. "The spatial theory of elections: an analysis of voters' predictive dimensions and recovery of the underlying issue space," ISU General Staff Papers 1994010108000018174, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    5. de Gorter, Harry & Rausser, Gordon C., 1989. "Endogenizing U.S. milk price supports," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt4f58t530, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    6. Eric Dunaway & Felix Munoz-Garcia, 2020. "Campaign contributions and policy convergence: asymmetric agents and donations constraints," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 184(3), pages 429-461, September.
    7. Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde & João V. Ferreira, 2020. "Conflicted voters: A spatial voting model with multiple party identifications," Post-Print hal-02909682, HAL.
    8. Kevin Grier & Michael Munger, 1986. "The impact of legislator attributes on interest-group campaign contributions," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 349-361, September.
    9. Stuart Elaine Macdonald & George Rabinowitz, 1993. "Direction and Uncertainty in a Model of Issue Voting," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 5(1), pages 61-87, January.
    10. Alexander Fink, 2017. "Donations to Political Parties: Investing Corporations and Consuming Individuals?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 220-255, May.
    11. Larry Samuelson, 1987. "A test of the revealed-preference phenomenon in congressional elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 141-169, January.
    12. Christopher Hare & Tzu-Ping Liu & Robert N. Lupton, 2018. "What Ordered Optimal Classification reveals about ideological structure, cleavages, and polarization in the American mass public," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 176(1), pages 57-78, July.
    13. Mark M. Berger & Michael C. Munger & Richard F. Potthoff, 2000. "The Downsian Model Predicts Divergence," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 12(2), pages 228-240, April.
    14. Peter Coughlin, 1986. "Elections and income redistribution," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 50(1), pages 27-91, January.
    15. Alexander A. Schuessler, 2000. "Expressive Voting," Rationality and Society, , vol. 12(1), pages 87-119, February.
    16. Stuart Nagel, 1981. "Optimally allocating campaign expenditures," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 159-164, January.
    17. Peter Coughlin, 1982. "Pareto optimality of policy proposals with probabilistic voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 427-433, January.
    18. Peter Aranson & Melvin Hinich, 1979. "Some aspects of the political economy of election campaign contribution laws," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 34(3), pages 435-461, September.
    19. Jordan Rappaport, 1997. "Extremist Funding, Centrist Voters, and Candidate Divergence," Research in Economics 97-06-059e, Santa Fe Institute.
    20. Henry Chappell, 1981. "Campaign contributions and voting on the cargo preference bill: A comparison of simultaneous models," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 301-312, January.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:54:y:1987:i:2:p:123-139. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.