What Do Donors Want? Heterogeneity by Party and Policy Domain (Research Note)

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See all articles by David E. Broockman

David E. Broockman

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Neil A. Malhotra

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Date Written: November 30, 2018

Abstract

Influential theories indicate concern that campaign donors exert outsized political influence. However, little data documents what donors actually want from government; and existing research largely neglects donors' views on individual issues. We argue there should be significant heterogeneity by party and policy domain in how donors' views diverge from citizens. We support this argument with the largest survey of U.S. partisan donors to date, including an oversample of the largest donors. We find that Republican donors are much more conservative than Republican citizens on economic issues, whereas their views are similar on social issues. By contrast, Democratic donors are much more liberal than Democratic citizens on social issues, whereas their views are more similar on economic issues. Both parties' donors are more pro-globalism than their citizen counterparts. We replicate these patterns in an independent dataset. These patterns can help inform significant debates about representation, inequality, and populism in American politics.

Suggested Citation

Broockman, David E. and Malhotra, Neil A., What Do Donors Want? Heterogeneity by Party and Policy Domain (Research Note) (November 30, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

David E. Broockman (Contact Author)

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Neil A. Malhotra

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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