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Electoral systems and campaign finance in legislative elections

  • Author(s): Johnson, Joel W.
  • et al.
Abstract

Electoral systems are known to be powerful shapers of electoral politics, but little research has considered their consequences for campaign finance. Focusing on systems fostering within-list or within-party competition, I make several arguments. Chapter 1 argues that these systems affect the likelihood that disclosure regulations extend to individual candidates (and not simply political parties). Electoral rules affect the degree to which individual candidates become objects of attention and/or active campaigners and thus also the 'demand' for the revelation and control of candidates' political finances. My detailed survey of the disclosure regulations for 44 countries supports the theory. Chapter 2 argues that within-list competition does not necessarily foster campaign spending because it may diminish the supply of contributions. Chile is a case in point. I develop a model of the Chilean campaign finance marketplace, and the theory's main result is that candidates who are competitive only vis-à-vis their own listmates are relatively unattractive to contributors. An analysis of the official disclosure reports of candidates in the 2005 Chamber of Deputies elections supports the theory. The analysis focuses on candidates' campaign income because this best illustrates the effect of market forces. Chapter 3 argues that the effects of campaign spending cannot be understood as simply the amount of votes 'purchased' per dollar; it also takes votes from competitors, and the effects can vary based on the identity of the competitor. Electoral systems matter because they affect incentives for campaign coordination, in which teammates target their campaigns at different voter groups, which also reduces the extent to which coordinators' expenditures detriment one another. Consequently, across electoral systems there is variation in the degree of intrateam coordination and so too in the degree to which spending affects intrateam versus interteam contests. The theory is supported with spending effects estimates for Chilean and Irish elections. The final two chapters discuss methodological issues in estimating campaign effects for multi-candidate elections. Chapter 4 considers a dyadic approach for estimating within-team and between-team effects. Chapter 5 considers regression specification problems when the number of candidates per district varies

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