The Influence of Economic Geography on Individual Campaign Contributions
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science
Elisabeth R. Gerber
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy; University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science
APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper
Political behavior takes place within a geospatial context, yet studies of political phenomena frequently ignore the influence of geography. In this paper we examine how the spatial structure of a citizen’s regional economy affects an important and understudied form of political participation – individual contributions to candidates for the U.S. Congress. We hypothesize that citizens living in more interconnected regions will be more likely than citizens living in less connected regions to target their donations to candidates throughout their region. To test this hypothesis, we geo-locate all campaign contributions to U.S. Congressional candidates made by individual donors in the 2007-08 election cycle. We use several measures to characterize the interconnectedness of the donor’s MSA. Our results indicate that citizens direct their campaign donations in ways that reflect their spatial context, particularly the economic geography of their region. This result has important implications for how we understand and study political behavior.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 38working papers series
Date posted: July 15, 2012 ; Last revised: August 1, 2012
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