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Political Competition with Campaign Contributions and Informative Advertising

  • Stephen Coate

    (Cornell University,)

This paper presents a theory of political competition with campaign contributions and informa-tive political advertising. Policy-motivated parties compete by selecting candidates and interest groups provide contributions to enhance the electoral prospects of like-minded candidates. Con-tributions are used to finance advertising campaigns that provide voters with information about candidates' ideologies. Voters update their beliefs rationally given the information they have received. The paper uses the theory to analyze the welfare economics of contribution limits. Such limits are shown to redistribute welfare from ordinary citizens to members of interest groups. (JEL: D72, H40) Copyright (c) 2004 by the European Economic Association.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 2 (2004)
Issue (Month): 5 (09)
Pages: 772-804

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:2:y:2004:i:5:p:772-804
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  1. Nelson, Phillip, 1976. "Political Information," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 315-36, August.
  2. Prat, A., 1997. "Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare," Discussion Paper 1997-118, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Papers 630, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  4. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2000. "Issue Unbundling via Citizens' Initiatives," NBER Working Papers 8036, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1986. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 796-821, August.
  6. Christian Schultz & Ignacio Ortuno-OrtÍn, 2000. "Public Funding of Political Parties," CESifo Working Paper Series 368, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Gene Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1994. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," NBER Working Papers 4877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  9. Potters, J.J.M. & Sloof, R. & van Winden, F.A.A.M., 1997. "Campaign Expenditures, Contributions and Direct Endorsements : The Strategic Use of Information and Money to Influence Voter Behavior," Discussion Paper 1997-27, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  10. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  11. David Austen-Smith, 1987. "Interest groups, campaign contributions, and probabilistic voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 123-139, January.
  12. 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.
  13. Roger Congleton, 1986. "Rent-seeking aspects of political advertising," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 249-263, January.
  14. Grossman, Gene M & Shapiro, Carl, 1984. "Informative Advertising with Differentiated Products," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(1), pages 63-81, January.
  15. Rebecca Morton & Charles Cameron, 1992. "Elections And The Theory Of Campaign Contributions: A Survey And Critical Analysis," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 79-108, 03.
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