Power-Hungry Candidates, Policy Favors, and Pareto Improving Campaign Finance Policy

50 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2003 Last revised: 1 Nov 2010

See all articles by Stephen Coate

Stephen Coate

Cornell University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: April 2003

Abstract

This paper argues that campaign finance policy, in the form of contribution limits and matching public financing, can be Pareto improving even under the most optimistic assumptions concerning the role of campaign advertising and the rationality of voters. The argument assumes that candidates use campaign contributions to convey truthful information to voters about their qualifications for office and that voters update their beliefs rationally on the basis of the information they have seen. It also assumes that campaign contributions are provided by interest groups and that candidates can offer to provide policy favors for their interest groups to attract higher contributions. The argument is developed in the context of a simple model of political competition with campaign contributions and informative advertising.

Suggested Citation

Coate, Stephen, Power-Hungry Candidates, Policy Favors, and Pareto Improving Campaign Finance Policy (April 2003). NBER Working Paper No. w9601. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=392988

Stephen Coate (Contact Author)

Cornell University - Department of Economics ( email )

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