Competition Policy for Elections: Do Campaign Contribution Limits Matter?
41 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2001
Date Written: June 2001
Theoretically, campaign contribution restrictions can either lead to closer elections or amount to incumbent protection devices. States are a natural laboratory to examine the effect of contribution restrictions on election outcomes. We analyze elections to the state Houses from 1980 to 1999 and determine whether candidates's vote shares are altered by changes in state campaign contribution restrictions. We find that limits on giving lowers future incumbents' vote shares but have little effect on the vote shares of incumbents who passed the campaign finance legislation. Stricter contribution limits also draw more candidates into the race, narrowing the margin of victory and leading to more incumbent defeats.
Keywords: Campaign Finance, Elections
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