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Congressional Campaign Spending and the Quality of Democracy

Nearly all research on campaign finance overlooks important intermediaries between candidate spending and electoral outcomes. We consider the effects of campaign spending on a variety of factors important to the health of any democracy and political community: trust, efficacy, involvement, attention, knowledge, and affect. Our analysis of the 1994 and 1996 U.S. House elections shows that the effects of campaign spending lie more on the side of democratic boon than democratic bane. Campaign spending increases knowledge of and affect toward the candidates, improves the public’s ability to place candidates on ideology and issue scales, and encourages certainty about those placements. Spending neither enhances nor erodes trust and efficacy in politics or attention and interest in campaigns. We conclude that campaign spending contributes to key aspects of democracy such as knowledge and affect, while not damaging public trust or involvement.

Filed Under: Uncategorized, Expenditure, Expenditure

Political Money: The New Prohibition

This article first appeared in the Essays in Public Policy series published by the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, in 1997. In Political Money: The New Prohibition Annelise Anderson addresses whether or not we are spending too much on political campaigns and whether either expenditure limits or contribution limits are desirable or effective in accomplishing the purposes they supposedly serve. Rather than increase limits on spending and contributions, she recommends abolishing them but strengthening campaign finance reporting requirements and the speed with which data are made available to the public.

Filed Under: Contribution Limits, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits, Research, Uncategorized, Contribution Limits, Contributions & Limits