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Campaign Finance Laws and Political Efficacy: Evidence From the States

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Abstract

The decline of political efficacy and trust in the United States is often linked to the rise of money in politics. Both the courts and reform advocates justify restrictions on campaign donations and spending as necessary for the improvement of links between the government and the governed. We conduct the first test of whether campaign finance laws actually influence how citizens view their government by exploiting the variation in campaign finance regulations both across and within states during the last half of the 20th century. Our analysis reveals no large positive effects of campaign finance laws on political efficacy. Public disclosure laws and limits on contributions from organizations are in some cases associated with modest increases in efficacy, but public financing is associated with a similarly modest decrease in efficacy.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey Milyo & David M. Primo, 2005. "Campaign Finance Laws and Political Efficacy: Evidence From the States," Working Papers 0513, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  • Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:0513
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    File URL: https://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2005/wp0513_milyo.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-838, May.
    2. Stratmann, Thomas, 1998. "The Market for Congressional Votes: Is Timing of Contributions Everything?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 85-113, April.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:68:y:1974:i:03:p:973-988_10 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Citrin, Jack & Green, Donald Philip, 1986. "Presidential Leadership and the Resurgence of Trust in Government," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(04), pages 431-453, October.
    5. Bronars, Stephen G & Lott, John R, Jr, 1997. "Do Campaign Donations Alter How a Politician Votes? Or, Do Donors Support Candidates Who Value the Same Things That They Do?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(2), pages 317-350, October.
    6. Thomas Stratmann & Francisco J. & Aparicio-Castillo, 2006. "Competition policy for elections: Do campaign contribution limits matter?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 177-206, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. John M. de Figueiredo, 2004. "The Timing, Intensity, and Composition of Interest Group Lobbying: An Analysis of Structural Policy Windows in the States," NBER Working Papers 10588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. John de Figueiredo, "undated". "The Timing, Intensity, and Composition of Interest Group Lobbying: An Analysis of Structural Policy Windows in the States," American Law & Economics Association Annual Meetings 1082, American Law & Economics Association.
    3. Jeffrey Milyo, 2013. "Campaign Spending and Electoral Competition: Towards More Policy Relevant Research," Working Papers 1344, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Campaign finance; trust; social capital;

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H8 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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