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Election Finance Regulation in Emerging Democracies: Lessons from Canada and the U.S


  • Filip Palda

    (Ecole nationale d'administration publique in Montreal)


Election finances are usually lightly regulated in emerging democracies. As these democracies mature they seek to impose campaign spending limits, limits on contributions, and disclosure laws. The present paper reviews the experience with such laws in the United States and Canada and contrasts the public interest arguments for such laws with research emerging which suggests that campaign finance law may be used to stifle electoral competition. The paper surveys major research in the field and focuses particular attention on reporting and disclosure regulations. These regulations can impose costs on new candidates which cripple their ability to compete with established candidates. The paper also highlights the potential dangers of limiting what independent citizens' groups may spend during elections.

Suggested Citation

  • Filip Palda, 2001. "Election Finance Regulation in Emerging Democracies: Lessons from Canada and the U.S," Public Economics 0111010, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0111010
    Note: Type of Document - PDF; prepared on IBM PC ; to print on HP/PostScript; pages: 44 ; figures: included. PDF document may be viewed or printed

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Eckard, E Woodrow, Jr, 1991. "Competition and the Cigarette TV Advertising Ban," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(1), pages 119-133, January.
    2. Bender, Bruce, 1988. "An Analysis of Congressional Voting on Legislation Limiting Congressional Campaign Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(5), pages 1005-1021, October.
    3. Nelson, Phillip, 1976. "Political Information," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 315-336, August.
    4. Dan Usher, 1982. "The Benefits and Cost of Firm-Specific Investment Grants: A Study of Five Federal Programs," Working Papers 511, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    5. Haas-Wilson, Deborah, 1989. "Strategic regulatory entry deterrence An empirical test in the ophthalmic market," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 339-352, December.
    6. Kalt, Joseph P & Zupan, Mark A, 1990. "The Apparent Ideological Behavior of Legislators: Testing for Principal-Agent Slack in Political Institutions," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 103-131, April.
    7. Abrams, Burton A & Settle, Russell F, 1978. "The Economic Theory of Regulation and Public Financing of Presidential Elections," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(2), pages 245-257, April.
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    9. Jeffrey Milyo, 1998. "The Electoral Effects of Campaign Spending in House Elections: A Natural Experiment Approach," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9806, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    10. Filip Palda, 2001. "The Economics of Election Campaign Spending Limits," Public Economics 0111011, EconWPA.
    11. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
    12. Palda, Filip, 1992. "The Determinants of Campaign Spending: The Role of the Government Jackpot," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 30(4), pages 627-638, October.
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    14. John R. Lott JR, 1989. "Explaining Challengers' Campaign Expenditures: the Importance of Sunk Nontransferable Brand Name," Public Finance Review, , vol. 17(1), pages 108-118, January.
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    More about this item


    Campaign finance; spending limits; campaign contributions; electoral competition;

    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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