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Side Effects of Campaign Finance Reform

Matthias Dahm and Nicolás Porteiro
Journal of the European Economic Association
Vol. 6, No. 5 (Sep., 2008), pp. 1057-1077
Published by: Wiley on behalf of European Economic Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40283093
Page Count: 21
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Side Effects of Campaign Finance Reform
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Abstract

Because campaign finance reform is usually motivated by the concern that existing legislation cannot effectively prevent campaign contributions to "buy favors," this article assumes that contributions influence political decisions. But, given that it is also widely recognized that interest groups achieve influence by providing political decision makers with policy relevant information, we also assume that lobbies engage in non-negligible informational lobbying. We focus on a single political decision to be taken and offer a simple model in which the optimal influence strategy is a mixture of both lobbying instruments. Our main result is to show that campaign finance reform may have important side effects: It may deter informational lobbying so that less policy relevant information is available and as a result political decisions become less efficient.

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