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Side Effects of Campaign Finance Reform

  • Matthias Dahm
  • Nicolás Porteiro

Because campaign finance reform is usually motivated by the concern that existing legislation cannot effectively prevent campaign contributions to "buy favors," this article assumes that contributions influence political decisions. But, given that it is also widely recognized that interest groups achieve influence by providing political decision makers with policy relevant information, we also assume that lobbies engage in non-negligible informational lobbying. We focus on a single political decision to be taken and offer a simple model in which the optimal influence strategy is a mixture of both lobbying instruments. Our main result is to show that campaign finance reform may have important side effects: It may deter informational lobbying so that less policy relevant information is available and as a result political decisions become less efficient. (JEL: C72, D72) (c) 2008 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): 6 (2008)
Issue (Month): 5 (09)
Pages: 1057-1077

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:6:y:2008:i:5:p:1057-1077
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  1. Che, Yeon-Koo & Gale, Ian L, 1998. "Caps on Political Lobbying," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 643-51, June.
  2. Morten Bennedsen & Sven E. Feldmann, 2000. "Informational Lobbying and Political Contributions," CIE Discussion Papers 2000-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  3. Matthias Dahm & Nicolas Porteiro, 2005. "Informational Lobbying under the Shadow of Political Pressure," Discussion Papers 1409, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Baye, M.R. & Kovenock, D. & De Vries, C.G., 1991. "Rigging The Lobbying Process: An Application Of The All- Pay Auction," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1002, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  5. Prat, A., 1998. "Campaign Spending with Office-Seeking Politicians, Rational Voters and Multiple Lobbies," Discussion Paper 1998-123, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  6. Austen-Smith, David, 1998. "Allocating Access for Information and Contributions," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 277-303, October.
  7. Stephen Coate, 2004. "Pareto-Improving Campaign Finance Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 628-655, June.
  8. Stephen Ansolabehere & John M. de Figueiredo & James M. Snyder Jr, 2003. "Why is There so Little Money in U.S. Politics?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 105-130, Winter.
  9. Morten Bennedsen & Sven E. Feldmann, 2000. "Lobbying Legislatures," CIE Discussion Papers 2000-04, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  10. Prat, Andrea, 2002. "Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 999-1017, October.
  11. Matejka, M. & Onderstal, A.M. & De Waegenaere, A.M.B., 2002. "The Effectiveness of Caps on Political Lobbying," Discussion Paper 2002-44, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  12. Stephen Ansolabehere & John M. de Figueiredo & James M. Snyder, 2003. "Why Is There So Little Money in Politics?," NBER Working Papers 9409, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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