Small Donors, Special Interests and Polarization in Congressional Elections

Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 26 Dec 2012

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

I propose a theory of campaign finance, candidate emergence and polarization in Congressional elections. The model assumes that candidate emergence depends critically on the ability to successfully raise campaign funds. I model campaign donations as motivated either by demand for ideology or access. I find that the reluctance of special interest groups and other access-seeking donors to fund campaigns in the early stages of elections increases the influence of small donors and other ideologically motivated donors on candidate emergence. Empirical tests based on measures of non-incumbent ideology provide robust support for the theoretical predictions.

Suggested Citation

Bonica, Adam, Small Donors, Special Interests and Polarization in Congressional Elections (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1901587

Adam Bonica (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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