Do Campaign Donations Alter How a Politician Votes?

Posted: 25 May 2001

See all articles by Stephen G. Bronars

Stephen G. Bronars

University of Texas at Austin

John R. Lott

Crime Prevention Research Center


Despite all the work on how campaign donations influence politician's behavior, the nagging question of whether contributions alter how the politician votes or whether these contributions constitute support for like-minded individuals remains unresolved. By combining the campaign contributions literature with the work on politicians intrinsically valuing policy outcomes, we offer a simple test that examines how politicians' voting patterns change when they retire and no longer face the threat of lost campaign contributions. If contributions are causing individual politicians to vote differently, there should be systematic changes in voting behavior when future contributions are eliminated. On the other hand, if contributors donate to candidates who intrinsically value the same policies, there should be no changes in how a politician votes during the last period.

Suggested Citation

Bronars, Stephen G. and Lott, John R., Do Campaign Donations Alter How a Politician Votes?. Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 40, No. 2, Pp. 317-350, October 1997, Available at SSRN:

Stephen G. Bronars

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States
512-475-8529 (Phone)
Not available (Fax)

John R. Lott (Contact Author)

Crime Prevention Research Center ( email )

PO Box 3234
Alexandria, VA
United States

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