The Distribution of Campaign Spending Benefits across Groups

In this paper, Coleman and Manna argue that campaign spending boosts the quality of democracy by increasing citizen knowledge about and affect toward candidates. If politically and socially advantaged groups disproportionately capture these knowledge benefits, however, then campaign spending merely perpetuates political inequality. Examining challenger and incumbent spending in 1996, I estimate the distribution of campaign spending benefits and find that these benefits are distributed broadly across advantaged and disadvantaged groups. In this regard, campaign spending is a democratizing force.