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A Simple Explanation for Why Campaign Expenditures Are Increasing: The Government Is Getting Bigger

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  • Lott, John R, Jr

Abstract

This paper shows that most of the large recent increases in campaign spending for federal and state offices can be explained by higher government spending. This result holds for both federal and state legislative campaigns and gubernatorial races and across many different specifications. The irony is that those who seem most concerned about the level of campaign expenditures are also frequently the ones who most strongly support increasing the size of government. Evidence is also examined on whether it is the composition and not just the level of expenditures that determines campaign expenditures and whether higher government expenditures similarly results in more candidates competing for office. Finally, by focusing on the symptoms and not the root causes of ever higher campaign expenditures, this paper argues that the current public policy debate risks changing the form in which payments are made rather than actually restricting the level of competition. Copyright 2000 by the University of Chicago.

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  • Lott, John R, Jr, 2000. "A Simple Explanation for Why Campaign Expenditures Are Increasing: The Government Is Getting Bigger," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 359-393, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:43:y:2000:i:2:p:359-93
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/467459
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    Cited by:

    1. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 7-73, March.
    2. Ansolabehere, Stephen & De Figueiredo, John M. & Snyder, James M., 2003. "Are Campaign Contributions Investment in the Political Marketplace or Individual Consumption? Or "Why Is There So Little Money in Politics?"," Working papers 4272-02, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
    3. Filip Palda, 2002. "Campaign Finance: An Introduction to the Field," Public Economics 0209005, EconWPA.
    4. Enrique García Viñuela & Joaquín Artés Caselles, 2008. "Reforming campaign finance in the nineties: a case study of Spain," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 25(3), pages 177-190, June.
    5. Thomas Stratmann, 2005. "Some talk: Money in politics. A (partial) review of the literature," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 135-156, July.
    6. Gregory Randolph, 2011. "The voter initiative and the power of the governor: evidence from campaign expenditures," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 22(3), pages 265-286, September.
    7. Jürgen Huber & Michael Kirchler, 2013. "Corporate campaign contributions and abnormal stock returns after presidential elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 285-307, July.
    8. Ivan Pastine & Tuvana Pastine, 2010. "Politician preferences, law-abiding lobbyists and caps on political contributions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(1), pages 81-101, October.

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