Campaign Spending and Electoral Competition: Towards More Policy Relevant Research

Despite long-standing scholarly literature on the electoral effects of campaign spending, academic research provides little practical policy guidance. In part, this is because existing studies have focused narrowly on some vexing statistical issues, while ignoring many others. However, this is also because political scientists have not devoted enough effort to conducting evaluation studies of how regulatory policies impact their goals:  increased electoral competition in the intermediate and reduced corruption, increased citizen participation, and improved public policy in the long-term.

This paper by CCP Academic Advisor and University of Missouri Professor Jeff Milyo examines the need for updated and improved analyses of the treatment effect of campaign spending on political competition in a variety of electoral contexts, and the even greater need for applying modern evaluation methods to the more basic question of whether campaign finance reforms “work” as advertised.