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Presidential Campaign Expenditures: Evidence on Allocations and Effects

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  • Nagler, Jonathan
  • Leighley, Jan

Abstract

This paper analyzes the impact of presidential campaign spending on election results. Analyses of expenditures and voting are often plagued by simultaneity between campaign spending and expected vote share. However, game-theoretic models of resource-allocation decisions made by a central actor (i.e., a presidential campaign) suggest that candidates will spend more in close races and in races likely to be pivotal. The authors provide empirical support for this theory; using Federal Communications Commission data from the 1972 presidential election, they find that expenditures were higher in states where the election was expected to be closer and in states likely to be pivotal. They use these two factors as instruments in a two-stage least squares model to estimate the effect of spending on votes. They find that, contrary to previous theory and research, presidential campaign spending significantly increases a candidates's vote share. Copyright 1992 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Nagler, Jonathan & Leighley, Jan, 1992. "Presidential Campaign Expenditures: Evidence on Allocations and Effects," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 73(3), pages 319-333, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:73:y:1992:i:3:p:319-33
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    Cited by:

    1. Epstein, Gil S. & Heizler (Cohen), Odelia, 2018. "Minority Groups and Success in Election Primaries," IZA Discussion Papers 11371, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Nicholas Bloom & Carol Propper & Stephan Seiler & John Van Reenen, 2015. "The Impact of Competition on Management Quality: Evidence from Public Hospitals," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(2), pages 457-489.
    3. Epstein, Gil S. & Heizler, Odelia, 2018. "Minority Groups and Success in Election Primaries," GLO Discussion Paper Series 187, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. Larcinese, Valentino & Snyder, Jr., James M. & Testa, Cecilia, 2006. "Testing models of distributive politics using exit polls to measure voter preferences and partisanship," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3605, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Epstein, Gil S., 2000. "Personal productivity and the likelihood of electoral success of political candidates," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 95-111, March.
    6. Strömberg, David, 2002. "Optimal Campaigning in Presidential Elections: The Probability of Being Florida," Seminar Papers 706, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
    7. Gebhard Kirchgässner & Tobias Schulz, 2005. "Expected Closeness or Mobilisation: Why Do Voters Go to the Polls? Empirical Results for Switzerland, 1981 – 1999," CESifo Working Paper Series 1387, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Gil Epstein & Raphaël Franck, 2007. "Campaign resources and electoral success: Evidence from the 2002 French parliamentary elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 469-489, June.

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