Public Choice

, Volume 122, Issue 3–4, pp 467–482 | Cite as

Elections with contribution-maximizing candidates

Article

Abstract

Analyses of campaign contributions usually follow the Downsian model to suppose that candidates seek contributions to win elections. This paper takes the opposite approach, by assuming that each candidate aims to maximize the contributions he collects. A citizen contributes to a candidate with the aim of increasing that candidate’s chances of winning. These assumptions generate several results: in equilibrium citizens make campaign contributions; the positions the candidates adopt differ; because the rich are willing to make larger contributions than the poor, the candidates adopt positions the rich prefer. A cap on political contributions reduces spending by voters and reduces the distance between the positions adopted by the candidates; public funding of campaign contributions causes aggregate spending to increase.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineU.S.A.
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsBen-Gurion UniversityBeershevaIsrael

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