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The Heterogeneous Price of a Vote: Evidence from France, 1993-2014

Yasmine Bekkouche and Julia Cagé ()
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Yasmine Bekkouche: Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics (PSE)

No 2019-09, Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers from Sciences Po Departement of Economics

Abstract: What is the impact of campaign spending on votes? Does it vary across election types and across political parties? Estimating these effects requires comprehensive data on spending across candidates, parties and elections, as well as identification strategies that successfully deal with the endogeneity of campaign spending. We provide novel contributions in both of these areas. We build a new comprehensive dataset of all French municipal and legislative elections over the 1993-2014 period. We propose two new instruments to overcome the endogenous nature of campaign spending; they rely on the fact that candidates are differentially affected by regulation on campaign funding depending on the source of funding they depend on the most. We find that an increase in spending per voter consistently increases a candidate’s vote share both for municipal and legislative elections, and that the effect is heterogeneous depending on the party. In particular, we show that spending by extreme-right candidates has much lower returns than spending by other parties. Our findings help reconcile the conflicting results of the existing literature, and improve our understanding of the mechanisms at play.

Keywords: Elections; Campaign financing; Campaign expenditures; Campaign spending limits; Campaign finance reform; Multiparty electoral data; Heterogeneous effects of campaign spending (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 P48 H7 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-pol
Date: 2019-06
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