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Campaign Advertising and Election Outcomes: Quasi-Natural Experiment Evidence from Gubernatorial Elections in Brazil

  • Bernardo S. da Silveira

    (Department of Economic, New York University)

  • João Manoel Pinho de Mello

    ()

    (Department of Economics, PUC-Rio)

Whether campaign advertising influences election outcomes is an open question; a paradox given the amount spent on campaigning in general and TV advertising in particular. We argue that such “absence of documentation” is due to the focus of the empirical literature on the United States, in which the allocation of campaign spending and advertising is decentralized. We explore a quasinatural experiment that enables us to mitigate the omitted variables and reverse causality problems caused by decentralized allocation. In Brazil, gubernatorial elections work in a two-round system. In the first round, candidates’ TV time shares are determined by their coalitions’ share of seats in the National Parliament. In the second round, TV time is split equally between the first-round winner and runner-up. Using differences between rounds as a source of variation, we find a large causal effect of TV advertising on election outcomes.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil) in its series Textos para discussão with number 550.

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Length: 26p
Date of creation: Aug 2007
Date of revision: May 2010
Handle: RePEc:rio:texdis:550
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  1. 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 777-98, August.
  2. Angus Deaton, 2009. "Instruments of development: Randomization in the tropics, and the search for the elusive keys to economic development," Working Papers 1122, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  3. Prat, A., 1998. "Campaign Spending with Office-Seeking Politicians, Rational Voters and Multiple Lobbies," Discussion Paper 1998-123, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  4. 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.
  5. W. Welch, 1981. "Money and votes: A simultaneous equation model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 209-234, January.
  6. Snyder, James M, 1989. "Election Goals and the Allocation of Campaign Resources," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 57(3), pages 637-60, May.
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