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Campaign spending and legislative election outcomes: Exploiting the French political financing reforms of the mid-1990s


  • Abel François

    () (University of Lille 1, Télécom ParisTech)

  • Michael Visser


  • Lionel WILNER

    () (CREST, ENSAE)


This paper studies the impact of campaign spending on votes in French legislative elections. We exploit the political nancing 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 signi cant effect, but only for challengers.

Suggested Citation

  • Abel François & Michael Visser & Lionel WILNER, 2016. "Campaign spending and legislative election outcomes: Exploiting the French political financing reforms of the mid-1990s," Working Papers 2016-28, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
  • Handle: RePEc:crs:wpaper:2016-28

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    More about this item


    Campaign Spending; Elections; Political Financing Reforms;
    All these keywords.

    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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