Title

Money That Draws No Interest: Public Financing of Legislative Elections and Candidate Emergence

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-2015

Abstract

The lack of candidates and low competition for American legislatures prompts the search for institutional reforms to encourage more citizens to run for office. One proposed remedy is to provide public subsidies to qualified candidates to mitigate the cost of fundraising and improve the odds of winning. This study provides an empirical test of whether subsidies attract additional candidates. Using new data from a unique panel survey of political elites in Connecticut before and after reform, the findings indicate that subsidies may change attitudes about the cost of running, but they have little direct impact on the decision to run because other factors are much more salient. The results highlight the strength of the “strategic candidate” thesis and illustrate the difficulty of designing institutions to encourage more people to run for office.

Publication Title

Election Law Journal

Volume

14

Issue

4

First Page

392

Last Page

410

DOI of Published Version

10.1089/elj.2015.0306