Policy Challenges and Political Responses

pp 135-156

Some talk: Money in politics. A (partial) review of the literature

  • Thomas StratmannAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, George Mason University

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The financing of political campaigns is an area of active scholarly study. I review some of the recent literature and discuss important methodological issues that arise in empirical research on campaign expenditures and campaign contributions. The effects of campaign expenditures and advertising on candidate and ballot-measure elections are summarized, as are the impacts of contributions on contributors’ welfare. Many states have changed their campaign finance laws in the past few years, and I describe work that exploits variations in these laws. A discussion of the strategies used by interest groups to allocate their campaign contributions provides insights into contributors’ motives.