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Political Support for a Private System of Financing Political Campaigns


  • Jenny De Freitas


In a context where parties announce an income tax and spend contributions received in campaign advertising, we compare two methods of financing political campaigns: the public and the private system. Under the public system, parties receive public funds in proportion to their voting share. Under the private system, voters contribute to political campaigns to increase a party's probability of winning. Competition for contributions may induce excessive campaign spending under the private system. Still, it may be supported by a majority of voters, given the indirect effect contributions have on the equilibrium tax and a party's probability of winning.

Suggested Citation

  • Jenny De Freitas, 2011. "Political Support for a Private System of Financing Political Campaigns," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 67(4), pages 352-377, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(291112)67:4_352:psfaps_2.0.tx_2-q
    DOI: 10.1628/001522108X614169

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nicolas Sahuguet & Nicola Persico, 2006. "Campaign spending regulation in a model of redistributive politics," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 28(1), pages 95-124, May.
    2. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
    3. Christian Schultz, 2007. "Strategic Campaigns and Redistributive Politics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(522), pages 936-963, July.
    4. Amihai Glazer & Mark Gradstein, 2005. "Elections with contribution-maximizing candidates," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(3), pages 467-482, March.
    5. Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin & Christian Schultz, 2005. "Public Funding of Political Parties," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(5), pages 781-791, December.
    6. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 265-286.
    7. Magee, Christopher, 2002. "Do Political Action Committees Give Money to Candidates for Electoral or Influence Motives?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 112(3-4), pages 373-399, September.
    8. 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, September.
    9. Stephen Coate, 2004. "Pareto-Improving Campaign Finance Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 628-655, June.
    10. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Privately provided public goods in a large economy: The limits of altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 57-73, February.
    11. Wittman, Donald, 1977. "Candidates with policy preferences: A dynamic model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 180-189, February.
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    More about this item


    political economy; redistribution; campaign finance;

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism


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