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Campaign expenditures, contributions and direct endorsements. The strategic use of information and money to influence voter behaviour.

  • Political Science


PII: S0176-2680(96)00032-8 European Journal of Political Economy � .Vol. 13 1997 1–31 Campaign expenditures, contributions and direct endorsements: The strategic use of information and money to influence voter behavior Jan Potters a, Randolph Sloof b,), Frans van Winden b a Department of Economics, Tilburg Uni˝ersity, P.O. Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands b Tinbergen Institute and CREED, Department of Economics, Uni˝ersity of Amsterdam, Roetersstraat 11, 1018 WB Amsterdam, The Netherlands Received 15 August 1995; accepted 15 March 1996 Abstract A costly signaling model is presented in which we show how campaign expenditures can buy votes. The model shows that the amount of campaign expenditures may convey the electorate information about the candidate’s intended policy. When this model is extended to allow for a contributing interest group, it appears that for campaigning to be informative it is sometimes crucial that campaign funds are supplied by informed third parties. The extension also provides an explanation why interest groups contribute to the candidate’s campaign, rather than using direct endorsements; they may need the candidate as an intermediary to filter their opposing interests. JEL classification: D72 Keywords: Campaign expenditures; Endorsements; Interest groups 1. Introduction When faced with the problem whom to vote for in an election, voters rely on several sources of information. Among these are: relevant past experience with the ) Corresponding author. 0176-2680r97r$17.00 Copyright q 1997 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved. � .PII S0176-2680 96 00032-8 ( )J. Potters et al.rEuropean Journal of Political Economy 13 1997 1–312 � .candidates or parties, political campaigns, and in direct endorsements by interest groups. Empirical evidence suggests that information from each of these sources influences voters’ decisions. 1 Theoretically, the impact of past experience can be understood – and has indeed been modeled – from an adapti

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