Money That Draws No Interest: Public Financing of Legislative Elections and Candidate Emergence
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.
Election Law Journal
DOI of Published Version
La Raja, Raymond J. and Wiltse, David, "Money That Draws No Interest: Public Financing of Legislative Elections and Candidate Emergence" (2015). History, Political Science, Philosophy, and Religion Faculty Publications. 19.