, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 59-73

An analysis of PAC contributions and legislator quality

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This paper empirically examines the influence of three legislator attributes on political action committee campaign contributions. In particular, the study investigates the roles that committee assignment, committee leadership, and majority party membership play on campaign contributions from political action committee representing firms from the four well-defined industries of aerospace, airline, automobile, and oil. The empirical results indicate that committee leadership is a key variable that drives contributions. However, membership on a seemingly relevant committee does not appear to carry as much weight. Furthermore, majority party membership appears to have a significant influence over the level of contributions. These patterns appear to be consistent over the eight election cycles studied.

This paper was presented at the International Atlantic Economic Conference, Philadelphia, PA, October 9–12, 1997. The author wishes to thank Steve Goldman, Omar Azfar, and Beck Taylor for their helpful comments. This paper also greatly benefitted from comments by Jack Barron, Jim Moore, and an anonymous referee. The author is responsible for any remaining errors.