Using Political Financing Reforms to Measure Campaign Spending Effects on Electoral Outcomes

37 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2017

See all articles by Abel Francois

Abel Francois

Strasbourg University, LARGE; University of Strasbourg - EM Strasbourg Business School; Telecom ParisTech

Michael Visser

National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST)

Lionel Wilner

National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST)

Date Written: December 12, 2016

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of campaign spending on votes in French legislative elections. We exploit the political financing reforms which were adopted in France in the mid-1990s. Under the new laws, spending limits were reduced, legal persons were no longer allowed to finance candidates, and the maximal amount of personal expenditures reimbursed by the State was augmented. We have data on two consecutive elections (one before and one after the reforms) and focus on candidates who competed in both of them. We find that the difference in candidates’ campaign expenses across elections is strongly affected by the reforms. We then estimate a structural vote equation using panel data to control for unobserved characteristics of candidates. Spending has a statistically significant effect, but only for challengers. We cannot reject the hypothesis that challenger spending has the same impact across the various political parties in France.

Keywords: campaign spending, elections, political financing reforms

JEL Classification: C230, D720

Suggested Citation

Francois, Abel and Visser, Michael and Wilner, Lionel, Using Political Financing Reforms to Measure Campaign Spending Effects on Electoral Outcomes (December 12, 2016). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 6232. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2905019

Abel Francois

Strasbourg University, LARGE ( email )

47 avenue de la foret Noire
Strasbourg, 67000
France

HOME PAGE: http://abelfrancois.wordpress.com/information/

University of Strasbourg - EM Strasbourg Business School ( email )

PEGE
61 avenue de la ForĂȘt Noire
Strasbourg, 67000
France

HOME PAGE: http://abelfrancois.wordpress.com/information/

Telecom ParisTech

46, rue Barrault
Paris Cedex 13, F-75634
France

Michael Visser (Contact Author)

National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST) ( email )

15 Boulevard Gabriel Peri
Malakoff Cedex, 1 92245
France

Lionel Wilner

National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST) ( email )

15 Boulevard Gabriel Peri
Malakoff Cedex, 1 92245
France

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