Corporate Donations and Political Rhetoric: Evidence from a National Ban

100 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2021 Last revised: 6 Apr 2022

See all articles by Julia Cage

Julia Cage

Sciences Po Paris Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Caroline Le Pennec

HEC Montreal, Department of applied economics

Elisa Mougin

Sciences Po - Department of Economics; SciencesPo - LIEPP - Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: July 27, 2021

Abstract

Do campaign finance regulations influence politicians? We study the effects of a French ban on corporate donations passed in 1995. We use a difference-in-differences approach and a novel dataset combining the campaign manifestos issued by every candidate running for a seat in the French parliament with detailed data on their campaign contributions. We show that banning corporate donations discourages candidates from advertising their local presence during the campaign, as well as economic issues. The ban also leads candidates from non-mainstream parties to use more polarized language. These findings suggest that private donors shape politicians’ topics of interest, and that campaign finance reforms may affect the information made available to voters through their impact on candidates’ rhetoric.

Keywords: Elections, Campaign finance, Corporate donations, Campaign manifestos, Political rhetoric, Text analysis

JEL Classification: D72, P48, H7

Suggested Citation

Cage, Julia and Le Pennec, Caroline and Mougin, Elisa, Corporate Donations and Political Rhetoric: Evidence from a National Ban (July 27, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3894330 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3894330

Julia Cage

Sciences Po Paris Department of Economics ( email )

28 Rue des Saints-Pères
Paris, 75007
France

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Caroline Le Pennec (Contact Author)

HEC Montreal, Department of applied economics ( email )

3000, Chemin de la Côte-Sainte-Catherine
Montreal, Quebec H2X 2L3
Canada

Elisa Mougin

Sciences Po - Department of Economics ( email )

28, rue des Saints peres
Paris, 75007
France

SciencesPo - LIEPP - Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies ( email )

27, rue Saint-Guillaume
Paris
France

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