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