The (Non-)Effects of Campaign Finance Spending Bans on Macro Political Outcomes: Evidence from the States
37 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 1, 2012
This paper seeks to understand the effect of campaign finance laws on electoral and policy outcomes. Spurred by the recent Supreme Court decision, Citizens United v. FEC (2010), which eliminated bans on corporate and union political spending, the study focuses on whether such bans generate consequences notably different from an electoral system that lacks such bans. We observe three key outcomes: partisan control of government, incumbent reelection rates and corporate tax burdens. Using historical data on regulations in 49 American states between 1935 and 2009 we test alternative models for evaluating the impact of corporate and union spending bans put in place during this period. The results indicate that spending bans appear to have limited, if any, effect on these outcomes.
Keywords: campaign finance, Citizens United, elections, corruption, political contributions
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