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Even if it is not Bribery: The Case for Campaign Finance Reform

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  • Brendan Daley
  • Erik Snowberg

Abstract

We develop a dynamic multidimensional signaling model of campaign finance in which candidates can signal their ability by enacting policy and/or by raising and spending campaign funds, both of which are costly. Our model departs from the existing literature in that candidates do not exchange policy influence for campaign contributions; rather, they must decide how to allocate their efforts between policymaking and fundraising. If high-ability candidates are better policymakers and better fundraisers, then they will raise and spend campaign funds even if voters care only about legislation. Campaign finance reform alleviates this phenomenon and improves voter welfare at the expense of politicians. Thus, we expect successful politicians to oppose true campaign finance reform. We also show that our model is consistent with findings in the empirical and theoretical campaign finance literature. The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Yale University. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Brendan Daley & Erik Snowberg, 2011. "Even if it is not Bribery: The Case for Campaign Finance Reform," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(2), pages 324-349.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:27:y::i:2:p:324-349
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jleo/ewp012
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    Cited by:

    1. Bueno de Mesquita, Ethan & Landa, Dimitri, 2015. "Political accountability and sequential policymaking," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 95-108.

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