IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Political Competition with Campaign Contributions and Informative Advertising


  • Stephen Coate


This paper presents a model of political competition with campaign contributions and informative political advertising. Policy-motivated parties compete by selecting candidates and interest groups provide contributions to enhance the electoral prospects of like-minded candidates. Contributions are used to finance advertising campaigns that provide voters with information about candidates' ideologies. The model embodies rational behavior on the part of all actors, is analytically tractable, and has a unique equilibrium. The paper uses the model to analyze the welfare economics of contribution limits. Such limits are shown to redistribute welfare from moderate voters to interest group members. They may or may not raise aggregate welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Coate, 2001. "Political Competition with Campaign Contributions and Informative Advertising," NBER Working Papers 8693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8693
    Note: PE

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nelson, Phillip, 1976. "Political Information," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 315-336, August.
    2. Gene M. Grossman & Carl Shapiro, 1984. "Informative Advertising with Differentiated Products," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 63-81.
    3. 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.
    4. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114.
    5. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1986. "Price and Advertising Signals of Product Quality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 796-821, August.
    6. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1999. "Political economics and macroeconomic policy," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 22, pages 1397-1482 Elsevier.
    7. Roger Congleton, 1986. "Rent-seeking aspects of political advertising," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 249-263, January.
    8. Andrea Prat, 2002. "Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 999-1017.
    9. Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin & Christian Schultz, 2005. "Public Funding of Political Parties," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(5), pages 781-791, December.
    10. Prat, Andrea, 2002. "Campaign Spending with Office-Seeking Politicians, Rational Voters, and Multiple Lobbies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 162-189, March.
    11. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2008. "Issue Unbundling via Citizens' Initiatives," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(4), pages 379-397, December.
    12. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1996. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 265-286.
    13. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinski, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96.
    14. Rebecca Morton & Charles Cameron, 1992. "Elections And The Theory Of Campaign Contributions: A Survey And Critical Analysis," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(1), pages 79-108, March.
    15. David Austen-Smith, 1987. "Interest groups, campaign contributions, and probabilistic voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 54(2), pages 123-139, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8693. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.