State Campaign Finance Laws and the Turnout Decision
In this preliminary study, we find little evidence that state campaign finance laws influence turnout in the states. These results hold for both aggregate analysis, using turnout in gubernatorial elections from 1950-2000, and individual-level analysis using self-reported voting decisions in the National Election Studies from 1952-2000. Since much of the justification for campaign finance reform is based on improving the quality of democracy and, as a corollary, increasing turnout, this finding suggests that further scholarly work is needed in this area.
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