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Campaign Advertising and Election Outcomes: Quasi-natural Experiment Evidence from Gubernatorial Elections in Brazil

  • Bernardo S. Da Silveira
  • Jo�o M. P. De Mello

Whether campaign advertising influences election outcomes is an open question; a paradox given the amount spent on campaigning in general and TV advertising in particular. We argue that such "absence of documentation" is due to the focus of the empirical literature on the U.S., where the allocation of campaign spending and advertising is decentralized. We explore a quasi-natural experiment that enables us to mitigate the omitted variables and reverse causality problems caused by decentralized allocation. In Brazil, gubernatorial elections work in a two-round system. In the first round, candidates' TV time shares are determined by their coalitions' share of seats in the National Parliament. In the second round, TV time is split equally between the first-round winner and runner-up. Using differences between rounds as a source of variation, we find a large causal effect of TV advertising on election outcomes. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Review of Economic Studies.

Volume (Year): 78 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 590-612

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Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:78:y:2011:i:2:p:590-612
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  1. 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.
  2. Angus Deaton, 2009. "Instruments of development: Randomization in the tropics, and the search for the elusive keys to economic development," Working Papers 1128, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  3. W. Welch, 1981. "Money and votes: A simultaneous equation model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 209-234, January.
  4. Marie Rekkas, 2007. "The Impact of Campaign Spending on Votes in Multiparty Elections," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 573-585, August.
  5. Snyder, James M, 1989. "Election Goals and the Allocation of Campaign Resources," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 637-60, May.
  6. Levitt, Steven D, 1994. "Using Repeat Challengers to Estimate the Effect of Campaign Spending on Election Outcomes in the U.S. House," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 777-98, August.
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