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Do Campaign Donations Alter How a Politician Votes? Or, Do Donors Support Candidates Who Value the Same Things That They Do?

Listed author(s):
  • Bronars, Stephen G
  • Lott, John R, Jr

Despite all the work on how campaign donations influence a politician's behavior, the nagging question of whether contributions alter how the politician votes or whether these contributions constitute support for like-minded individuals remains unresolved. By combining the campaign contributions literature with the work on politicians intrinsically valuing policy outcomes, we offer a simple test that examines how politicians' voting patterns change when they retire and no longer face the threat of lost campaign contributions. If contributions are causing individual politicians to vote differently, there should be systematic changes in voting behavior when future contributions are eliminated. In contrast, if contributors donate to candidates who intrinsically value the same policies, there should be no changes in how a politician votes during the last period. Copyright 1997 by the University of Chicago.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/467375
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law & Economics.

Volume (Year): 40 (1997)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 317-350

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:40:y:1997:i:2:p:317-50
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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  1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:80:y:1986:i:01:p:89-106_18 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Peltzman, Sam, 1985. "An Economic Interpretation of the History of Congressional Voting in the Twentieth Century," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 656-675, September.
  3. Stratmann, Thomas, 1992. "Are Contributions Rational? Untangling Strategies of Political Action Committees," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 647-664, June.
  4. Silberman, Jonathan I & Durden, Garey C, 1976. "Determining Legislative Preferences on the Minimum Wage: An Economic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(2), pages 317-329, April.
  5. Fort, Rodney & Hallagan, William & Morong, Cyril & Stegner, Tesa, 1993. "The Ideological Component of Senate Voting: Different Principles or Different Principals?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(1-2), pages 39-57, June.
  6. Kau, James B & Rubin, Paul H, 1993. "Ideology, Voting, and Shirking," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(1-2), pages 151-172, June.
  7. Morris Coats, R. & Dalton, Thomas R., 1992. "Entry barriers in politics and uncontested elections," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 75-90, October.
  8. Chappell, Henry W, Jr, 1982. "Campaign Contributions and Congressional Voting: A Simultaneous Probit-Tobit Model," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 64(1), pages 77-83, February.
  9. Bender, Bruce & Lott, John R, Jr, 1996. "Legislator Voting and Shirking: A Critical Review of the Literature," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 87(1-2), pages 67-100, April.
  10. Hersch, Philip L & McDougall, Gerald S, 1994. "Campaign War Chests as a Barrier to Entry in Congressional Races," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 32(4), pages 630-641, October.
  11. Henry Chappell, 1981. "Campaign contributions and voting on the cargo preference bill: A comparison of simultaneous models," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 301-312, January.
  12. Peltzman, Sam, 1984. "Constituent Interest and Congressional Voting," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 181-210, April.
  13. Lott, John R, Jr & Bronars, Stephen G, 1993. "Time Series Evidence on Shirking in the U.S. House of Representatives," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 76(1-2), pages 125-149, June.
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