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Using Political Financing Reforms to Measure Campaign Spending Effects on Electoral Outcomes

Author

Listed:
  • Abel François
  • Michael Visser
  • Lionel Wilner

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of campaign spending on votes in French legislative elections. We exploit the political financing reforms which were adopted in France in the mid-1990s. Under the new laws, spending limits were reduced, legal persons were no longer allowed to finance candidates, and the maximal amount of personal expenditures reimbursed by the State was augmented. We have data on two consecutive elections (one before and one after the reforms) and focus on candidates who competed in both of them. We find that the difference in candidates’ campaign expenses across elections is strongly affected by the reforms. We then estimate a structural vote equation using panel data to control for unobserved characteristics of candidates. Spending has a statistically significant effect, but only for challengers. We cannot reject the hypothesis that challenger spending has the same impact across the various political parties in France.

Suggested Citation

  • Abel François & Michael Visser & Lionel Wilner, 2016. "Using Political Financing Reforms to Measure Campaign Spending Effects on Electoral Outcomes," CESifo Working Paper Series 6232, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6232
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp6232.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:92:y:1998:i:02:p:401-411_21 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Bernardo S. Da Silveira & João M. P. De Mello, 2011. "Campaign Advertising and Election Outcomes: Quasi-natural Experiment Evidence from Gubernatorial Elections in Brazil," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(2), pages 590-612.
    3. Levitt, Steven D, 1994. "Using Repeat Challengers to Estimate the Effect of Campaign Spending on Election Outcomes in the U.S. House," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 777-798, August.
    4. Ruben Durante & Emilio Gutierrez, 2014. "Political Advertising and Voting Intention: Evidence from Exogenous Variation in Ads Viewership," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/26lctatf2u8, Sciences Po.
    5. Filip Palda & Kristian Palda, 1998. "The impact of campaign expenditures on political competition in the French legislative elections of 1993," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 94(1), pages 157-174, January.
    6. Marie Rekkas, 2007. "The Impact of Campaign Spending on Votes in Multiparty Elections," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 573-585, August.
    7. Kevin Milligan & Marie Rekkas, 2008. "Campaign spending limits, incumbent spending, and election outcomes," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 41(4), pages 1351-1374, November.
    8. repec:cup:apsrev:v:82:y:1988:i:02:p:385-403_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:cup:apsrev:v:105:y:2011:i:01:p:135-150_00 is not listed on IDEAS
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    campaign spending; elections; political financing reforms;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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