Does Money Buy Votes? The Case of Self-Financed Gubernatorial Candidates, 1998–2008

Does Money Buy Votes? The Case of Self-Financed Gubernatorial Candidates, 1998–2008 Because campaign spending correlates strongly with election results, observers of American politics frequently lament that money seems to buy votes. However, the apparent effect of spending on votes is severely inflated by omitted variable bias: The best candidates also happen to be the best fundraisers. Acting strategically, campaign donors direct their funds toward the “best” candidates, who would be more likely to win even in a moneyless world. These donor behaviors spuriously amplify the correlation between spending and votes. As evidence for this argument, I show that (non-strategic) self-financed spending has no statistical effect on election results, whereas (strategic) externally-financed spending does. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

Does Money Buy Votes? The Case of Self-Financed Gubernatorial Candidates, 1998–2008

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
Subject
Social Sciences, general; Political Science, general; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-012-9193-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Because campaign spending correlates strongly with election results, observers of American politics frequently lament that money seems to buy votes. However, the apparent effect of spending on votes is severely inflated by omitted variable bias: The best candidates also happen to be the best fundraisers. Acting strategically, campaign donors direct their funds toward the “best” candidates, who would be more likely to win even in a moneyless world. These donor behaviors spuriously amplify the correlation between spending and votes. As evidence for this argument, I show that (non-strategic) self-financed spending has no statistical effect on election results, whereas (strategic) externally-financed spending does.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Mar 4, 2012

References

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