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Corporate Campaign Contributions, Repeat Giving, and the Rewards to Legislator Reputation

Randall S. Kroszner and Thomas Stratmann
The Journal of Law & Economics
Vol. 48, No. 1 (April 2005), pp. 41-71
DOI: 10.1086/429114
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/429114
Page Count: 31
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Corporate Campaign Contributions, Repeat Giving, and the Rewards to Legislator Reputation
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Abstract

Abstract Are politicians who follow a strategy of reputational development rewarded with high levels of corporate campaign contributions? Reputational clarity could help to reduce uncertainty about a candidate and lead to greater campaign contributions from favored interests. Alternatively, such clarity could alienate those who disagree and prevent the politician from obtaining contributions from groups on both sides of an issue. We outline an approach that considers conditions under which a politician would or would not prefer reputational development and policy‐stance clarity and consistency in the context of repeat dealing with special interests. Our proxy for reputational development is the percentage of repeat givers to a legislator. Using data on corporate political action committee (PAC) contributions to members of the U.S. House during the seven electoral cycles from 1983/84 to 1995/96, we explore a variety of alternative hypotheses and find that greater reputational development is rewarded with greater PAC contributions.

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