Why Not Run? How The Demands of Fundraising Undermine Ambition for Higher Office

42 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2018 Last revised: 1 Aug 2019

See all articles by William Marble

William Marble

Stanford University, Department of Political Science

Nathan Lee

Stanford University, Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 4, 2018

Abstract

Scholars have examined a range of factors that may shape the pool of candidates who choose to run for office. Yet it is difficult to assess the importance of these factors on individual-level entry decisions with observational data. To overcome this challenge, we embed a conjoint experiment into a survey of local elected officials — a common pool from which candidates for higher office tend to emerge. We provide randomized vignettes describing election scenarios, then assess respondents’ interest in running in the given election. Our core finding is that politicians are more sensitive to variation in the potential fundraising burden than any other factor considered — including legislative salary. We also find evidence that politicians are deterred by the presence of an incumbent and by negative advertising. We find little evidence that they are directly responsive to their opponent’s ideology.

Keywords: campaign finance, candidate entry, elite surveys, local government, state government

JEL Classification: P16, D72

Suggested Citation

Marble, William and Lee, Nathan, Why Not Run? How The Demands of Fundraising Undermine Ambition for Higher Office (April 4, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3165193 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3165193

William Marble

Stanford University, Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Nathan Lee (Contact Author)

Stanford University, Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://people.stanford.edu/nathanrl/

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
64
Abstract Views
585
rank
362,400
PlumX Metrics