Campaign Cost and Electoral Accountability.

The Journal of the European Political Science Association (Political Science Research & Methods), Forthcoming

39 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2016 Last revised: 15 Jun 2018

See all articles by Carlo Prato

Carlo Prato

Columbia University - Department of Political Science

Stephane Wolton

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Government

Date Written: January 23, 2016

Abstract

The increasing cost of campaigns and its implications for the performance of the electoral process are issues of paramount importance in modern democracies. We propose a theory of electoral accountability where candidates choose whether to propose a socially beneficial policy and whether to pay a campaign cost to advertise their platform. Higher campaign cost decreases voters' welfare when partisan imbalance is low. However, when partisan imbalance is high, a higher campaign cost is associated with a higher overall probability of socially beneficial policies: electoral campaigns can have a rebalancing effect. Empirical evidence from congressional elections is in line with the model's main prediction: higher cost of political ads is associated with lower federal transfers for low levels of partisan imbalance, but weakly higher transfers for highly partisan districts.

Keywords: Campaign cost, electoral competition, campaign finance

JEL Classification: D72, D78, D83

Suggested Citation

Prato, Carlo and Wolton, Stephane, Campaign Cost and Electoral Accountability. (January 23, 2016). The Journal of the European Political Science Association (Political Science Research & Methods), Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2164804 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2164804

Carlo Prato (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

7th Floor, International Affairs Bldg.
420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Stephane Wolton

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Government ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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