The Influence of Economic Geography on Individual Campaign Contributions

38 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 1 Aug 2012

See all articles by Jenna Bednar

Jenna Bednar

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

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Bednar, Jenna and Gerber, Elisabeth R., The Influence of Economic Geography on Individual Campaign Contributions (2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2108172

Jenna Bednar (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-615-5165 (Phone)
734-764-3341 (Fax)

Elisabeth R. Gerber

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy ( email )

412 Lorch Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-647-4004 (Phone)
734-763-9181 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.fordschool.umich.edu/people/Faculty/gerber-e.htm

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Department of Political Science ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Code 0521
La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

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