Self-funding of Political Campaigns

65 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2016 Last revised: 18 Nov 2021

Date Written: November 15, 2021


Candidate self-funding, in particular self-loans, is a significant source of funding of political campaigns. Self-funding clusters among non-incumbent campaigns, Republican campaigns and more expensive campaigns. Self-funded campaigns raise less money from individuals and special interests and also spend less. Self-funders are wealthier on average and run in more competitive elections. The analysis of self-funders’ legislative decisions shows that self-funders’ votes, especially those of Republicans, are significantly more sensitive to contributions from special interests that are affected by the votes. The results highlight the importance of considering politicians’ self-funding choices in analyzing voting behavior and the value of political activism.

Keywords: Campaign self-funding; Voting behavior; Political campaigns; Incentives

JEL Classification: D72, G32

Suggested Citation

Ovtchinnikov, Alexei V. and Valta, Philip, Self-funding of Political Campaigns (November 15, 2021). HEC Paris Research Paper No. FIN-2016-1165, Available at SSRN: or

Alexei V. Ovtchinnikov (Contact Author)

HEC Paris - Finance Department ( email )

1 rue de la Liberation
Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, 78351

Philip Valta

University of Bern ( email )

Engehaldenstrasse 4
Bern, 3012

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