Journal of Regulatory Economics

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 244–265 | Cite as

Spillovers from regulating corporate campaign contributions

  • Adam Fremeth
  • Brian Kelleher Richter
  • Brandon SchaufeleEmail author
Original Article


Populist clamor and recent Supreme Court decisions have renewed calls for increased regulation of corporate money in politics. Few empirical estimates exist, however, on the implications of existing rules on firms’ political spending. Exploiting within firm-cycle cross-candidate variation and across firm-cycle variation, we demonstrate that the regulation of PAC campaign contributions generates large spillovers into other corporate political expenditures such as lobbying. Using both high dimensional fixed effects and regression discontinuity designs, we demonstrate that firms constrained by campaign contribution limits spend between $549,000 and $1.6M more on lobbying per election cycle, an amount that is more than 100 times the campaign contribution limit. These results demonstrate that, similar to regulations in other domains of the economy, constraining specific corporate political activities often yields unintended effects.


Campaign finance regulation Corporate political activity Election law 

JEL Classification

D72 D73 K39 

Supplementary material

11149_2018_9369_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (233 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 233 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Business, Economics and Public Policy, Ivey Business SchoolUniversity of Western OntarioLondonCanada
  2. 2.Business, Government and Society, McCombs School of BusinessUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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