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Campaign Finance Laws and Political Efficacy: Evidence From the States

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.

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File URL: http://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2005/wp0513_milyo.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 0513.

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Length: 36 pgs.
Date of creation: 25 Aug 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Election Law Journal 2006
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:0513
Contact details of provider: Postal: 118 Professional Building, Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: (573) 882-0063
Fax: (573) 882-2697
Web page: http://economics.missouri.edu/

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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 817-38, May.
  2. 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 317-50, October.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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