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Deep Pockets, Extreme Preferences: Interest Groups and Campaign Finance Contributions

Author

Listed:
  • Thomas Bassetti
  • Filippo Pavesi

Abstract

In electoral competitions, interest groups will be willing to finance politicians that require funding for campaign advertising, in exchange for policy favors. Our model predicts that interest groups with more extreme preferences will devote more resources to campaign financing. This occurs because lobbies demand policy favors that are costly to candidates since they reduce voter consent. Extreme interest groups must therefore adequately reward politicians by providing higher contributions, so that candidates may recover popularity through campaign advertising. Our unique data set on U.S. House elections provides empirical evidence that is consistent with these findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Bassetti & Filippo Pavesi, 2012. "Deep Pockets, Extreme Preferences: Interest Groups and Campaign Finance Contributions," Working Papers 222, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:mib:wpaper:222
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    File URL: http://dems.unimib.it/repec/pdf/mibwpaper222.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Potters, Jan & Sloof, Randolph & van Winden, Frans, 1997. "Campaign expenditures, contributions and direct endorsements: The strategic use of information and money to influence voter behavior," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-31, February.
    2. Marcos Chamon & Ethan Kaplan, 2013. "The Iceberg Theory of Campaign Contributions: Political Threats and Interest Group Behavior," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, February.
    3. Bombardini, Matilde & Trebbi, Francesco, 2011. "Votes or money? Theory and evidence from the US Congress," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 587-611, August.
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    5. Andrea Prat, 2002. "Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 999-1017.
    6. Stratmann, Thomas, 2002. "Can Special Interests Buy Congressional Votes? Evidence from Financial Services Legislation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(2), pages 345-373, October.
    7. Aragones, Enriqueta & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "Mixed Equilibrium in a Downsian Model with a Favored Candidate," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 131-161, March.
    8. Snyder, James M, Jr, 1990. "Campaign Contributions as Investments: The U.S. House of Representatives, 1980-1986," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1195-1227, December.
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    16. Filippo Gregorini & Filippo Pavesi, 2011. "Do Campaign Finance Policies Really Improve Voters' Welfare?," Working Papers 209, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2011.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Campaign Finance; Interest Groups; Elections; Extreme Preferences;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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