Public Choice

, Volume 69, Issue 3, pp 351–355 | Cite as

Incentives and political contributions

  • David Joulfaian
  • Michael L. Marlow


Two implications from this research are noted. First, from a researcher's viewpoint, our research suggests the importance of age, wealth, tax rates, and marital status as determinants of political contributions by top U.S. wealth-holders. Therefore, these factors should be included in aggregated models that attempt to analyze the relations between such variables as voting, campaign expenditures and the outcomes of elections. Second, from politicians' viewpoints, this research suggests that individual economic variables such as marginal tax rates and wealth are major determinants of individual decisions to contribute to politicians. Assuming that such contributions reflect “votes,” this research suggests the relative importance of focusing campaign promises on economic variables — a strategy that “low tax” politicians like Ronald Reagan and George Bush may keenly be aware of.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Becker, G.S. (1983). A theory of competition among pressure groups for political influence. Quarterly Journal of Economics 98: 371–400.Google Scholar
  2. Bental, B. and Ben-Zion, U. (1981). A simple model of political contributions. Public Finance Quarterly 9: 143–157.Google Scholar
  3. Chappell, H.W. (1982). Campaign contributions and congressional voting: A simultaneous probit-tobit model. Review of Economics and Statistics 64: 77–83.Google Scholar
  4. Jacobson, G.C. (1976). Public funds for congressional candidates: Who would benefit? Public Policy 24: 1–32.Google Scholar
  5. Jacobson, G.C. (1984). Money in the 1980 and 1982 congressional elections. In M. Malbin (Ed.), Money and politics in the United States. Chattam, NJ: Chattam House.Google Scholar
  6. Jacobson, G.C. (1985). Money and votes reconsidered: Congressional elections, 1972–1982. Public Choice 47: 7–62.Google Scholar
  7. Kau, J.B. and Rubin, P.H. (1979). Self-interest, ideology, and logrolling in congressional voting. Journal of Law and Economics 22: 365–384.Google Scholar
  8. Kau, J.B., Canon, D. and Rubin, P.H. (1982). A general equilibrium model of congressional voting. Quarterly Journal of Economics 97: 271–293.Google Scholar
  9. Malbin, M.J. (Ed.) (1984). Money and politics in the United States. Chattam, NJ: Chattam House.Google Scholar
  10. Riker, M.J. and Ordeshook, P.C. (1968). A theory of the calculus of voting. The American Political Science Review 62: 25–42.Google Scholar
  11. Stigler, G.J. (1971). The theory of economic regulation. The Bell Journal of Economics and Management Science 2: 3–21.Google Scholar
  12. Tollison, R.D., Crain, W.M. and Paulter, P. (1975). Information and voting: An empirical note. Public Choice 24: 43–49.Google Scholar
  13. Welch, W.P. (1980). The allocation of political monies: Economic interest groups. Public Choice 35: 97–120.Google Scholar
  14. Welch, W.P. (1981). Money and votes: A simultaneous equation model. Public Choice 36: 209–234.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Joulfaian
    • 1
  • Michael L. Marlow
    • 2
  1. 1.U.S. Department of the TreasuryOffice of Tax AnalysisWashington
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsCalifornia Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis Obispo

Personalised recommendations