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