Elections with Contribution-Maximizing Candidates

17 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2001

See all articles by Amihai Glazer

Amihai Glazer

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics

Mark Gradstein

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Date Written: June 2001

Abstract

Much of the analysis of campaign contributions, in accordance with the Downsian model, has supposed that candidates seek contributions for electoral purposes. This paper takes the opposite approach, by assuming that each candidate aims to maximize the contributions he collects. We let a citizen contribute to a candidate with the aim of increasing that candidate's chances of winning. These assumptions generate several plausible results: in equilibrium citizens make campaign contributions; the positions the candidates adopt differ; the willingness of the rich to make larger contributions than the poor moves the candidates to adopt positions the wealthy prefer. A cap on political contributions reduces spending by voters, but also increases the divergence in the platforms adopted by the candidates. If some voters are richer than others, a cap will benefit the poor and hurt the rich, although the overall welfare implications are ambiguous.

Keywords: Elections, political contributions, voting

JEL Classification: D70, D72

Suggested Citation

Glazer, Amihai and Gradstein, Mark, Elections with Contribution-Maximizing Candidates (June 2001). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 2847. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=275024

Amihai Glazer (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Economics ( email )

3151 Social Science Plaza
Irvine, CA 92697-5100
United States
949-854-6563 (Phone)
949-824-2182 (Fax)

Mark Gradstein

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics ( email )

Beer-Sheva 84105
Israel
+97 2 8647 2288 (Phone)
+97 2 8647 2941 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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HOME PAGE: http://www.cesifo.de

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

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Washington, DC 20433
United States

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