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Are Campaign Contributions a Form of Speech? Evidence from Recent US House Elections

Author

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  • Dhammika Dharmapala

    (Economics Program, Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra)

  • Filip Palda

    (Ecole nationale d'administration publique in Montreal)

Abstract

This paper investigates the effects of the sources of candidates' campaign funding on their electoral outcomes, with particular emphasis on whether candidates who rely on a narrow base of funding suffer adverse electoral consequences. An extensive dataset consisting of over 650,000 contributions to House candidates in elections from 1980 to 1992 is used. The results reveal a negative relationship between the concentration of contributions and voteshare for open seat candidates and challengers. This may have significant implications for some of the empirical premises underlying the US Supreme Court's landmark {\em Buckley v. Valeo} decision. At very least the finding is an important stylized fact about US elections which is robust over the 1980's and early 1990's.

Suggested Citation

  • Dhammika Dharmapala & Filip Palda, 2001. "Are Campaign Contributions a Form of Speech? Evidence from Recent US House Elections," Public Economics 0111007, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0111007
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Vanberg, 2005. ""One Man, One Dollar"? Examining the equalization argument in support of campaign contribution limits," Papers on Strategic Interaction 2005-31, Max Planck Institute of Economics, Strategic Interaction Group.
    2. Yasmine Bekkouche & Julia Cage, 2018. "The Price of a Vote: Evidence from France, 1993-2014," Working Papers Series 68, Institute for New Economic Thinking.
    3. Bekkouche, Yasmine & Cagé, Julia & Dewitte, Edgard, 2020. "The Heterogeneous Price of a Vote: Evidence from Multiparty Systems, 1993-2017," CEPR Discussion Papers 15150, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Vanberg, Christoph, 2008. ""One Man, One Dollar"? Campaign contribution limits, equal influence, and political communication," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 514-531, April.
    5. Yasmine Bekkouche & Julia Cage, 2019. "The Heterogeneous Price of a Vote: Evidence from France, 1993-2014," Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers 2019-09, Sciences Po Departement of Economics.
    6. Fergusson, Leopoldo, 2014. "Media markets, special interests, and voters," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 13-26.
    7. Keith Jakee & Guang-Zhen Sun, 2006. "Is compulsory voting more democratic?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 129(1), pages 61-75, October.
    8. Alexandre Couture Gagnon, 2018. "Filip Palda: In memoriam," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 174(3), pages 213-217, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Campaign finance; contribution limits; spending limits; free speech; Buckley v. Valeo; Herfindahl index;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • K39 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Other

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