Campaign spending limits and electoral competition in a floating two-party system (with Martial Foucault, Université de Montréal)
This paper deals with the influence of campaign spending on electoral outcomes in the context of the sudden rise and demise of a third party in an otherwise stable two-party system -- i.e. a `floating two-party system.' Such a shock to the degree of electoral competition at the electoral district level provides variation out of which the effect of spending on votes can be estimated. To address the endogeneity problems that notoriously plague the estimation of this causal relationship, we propose a novel instrumental variable (IV) strategy. It exploits both the legislated spending limits faced by local candidates and, to address the endogeneity of the probability that these limits bind, shocks to local electoral competition. Our empirical analysis is based on a new dataset of more than 2,000 candidates in the last four provincial elections in Quebec. In contrast with most of the existing literature, our IV results show a positive return to campaign spending for incumbent candidates -- but not for non incumbents ones -- and for candidates in electorally safe constituencies.
Campaign spending, spending limits, vote, electoral competition, Quebec
Invited seminars and conference presentations
- World meeting of the Public Choice Society, Miami (March 2012)
- Department of Economics, Université Laval, Québec (December 2011)
- 45th meeting of the Canadian Economics Association, Ottawa (June 2011)
- 51th meeting of the Société canadienne de science économique, Sherbrooke (May 2011)