Match!

Campaign Contributions Facilitate Access to Congressional Officials: A Randomized Field Experiment

Published on Jul 1, 2016in American Journal of Political Science4.354
· DOI :10.1111/ajps.12180
Joshua L. Kalla6
Estimated H-index: 6
(University of California, Berkeley),
David E. Broockman14
Estimated H-index: 14
(University of California, Berkeley)
Sources
Abstract
Concern that donations to political campaigns secure preferential treatment from policy makers has long occupied judges, scholars, and the public. However, the effects of contributions on policy makers’ behavior are notoriously difficult to assess. We present the first randomized field experiment on the topic. The experiment focuses on whether contributions facilitate access to influential policy makers. In the experiment, a political organization attempted to schedule meetings between 191 congressional offices and the organization's members in their districts who were campaign donors. However, the organization randomly assigned whether it revealed to congressional offices that prospective attendees had contributed to campaigns. When informed prospective attendees were political donors, senior policy makers made themselves available between three and four times more often. These findings underscore concerns about the Supreme Court's recent decisions deregulating campaign finance.
Figures & Tables
  • References (39)
  • Citations (48)
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
578 Citations
485 Citations
445 Citations
78% of Scinapse members use related papers. After signing in, all features are FREE.
References39
Newest
#1G FindleyMichaelH-Index: 19
#2Brock LaneyH-Index: 1
Last. Jason Campbell SharmanH-Index: 18
view all 4 authors...
By comparing parallel field and survey experiments testing compliance with international standards on corporate transparency, we highlight potential problems in the external validity of survey experimental designs. We performed a field experiment using deception in which we requested an anonymous business incorporation from nearly 4,000 corporate service providers in more than 180 countries. Subsequently, we conducted a survey experiment with the same providers using similar treatment conditions...
4 CitationsSource
Understanding how money influences the legislative process is essential for assessing American democracy, but problems of endogeneity, legality, and observational equivalence make it difficult to isolate the effect of contributions on policy. We seek to answer long-standing questions about the influence of money in Congress by exploiting a congressional procedure (committee exile) that exogenously varies a member’s influence over the policy-making process. We leverage exile as an identification ...
17 CitationsSource
#2B HallAndrewH-Index: 10
Studies of American politics consistently find little link between campaign contributions and electoral and policy outcomes, concluding that donors gain little from donating. Despite this, the donations of access-oriented interest groups continue to generate a large part of incumbents' financial advantage in U.S. legislative campaigns. We argue that we can learn directly about the motivations of interest groups, and indirectly about the possible value that they extract from incumbents, by examin...
5 CitationsSource
#1M AronowPeter (Yale University)H-Index: 16
#2Cyrus Samii (NYU: New York University)H-Index: 18
This paper presents a randomization-based framework for estimating causal effects under interference between units. The framework integrates three components: (i) an experimental design that defines the probability distribution of treatment assignments, (ii) a mapping that relates experimental treatment assignments to exposures received by units in the experiment, and (iii) estimands that make use of the experiment to answer questions of substantive interest. Using this framework, we develop the...
39 Citations
#1Martin Gilens (Princeton University)H-Index: 17
589 CitationsSource
#1Alexander Fouirnaies (LSE: London School of Economics and Political Science)H-Index: 5
#2B HallAndrew (Harvard University)H-Index: 10
In this article, we use a regression discontinuity design to estimate the causal effect of incumbency on campaign contributions in the U.S. House and state legislatures. In both settings, incumbency causes approximately a 20–25 percentage-point increase in the share of donations flowing to the incumbent’s party. The effect size does not vary with legislator experience and does not appear to depend on incumbent office-holder benefits. Instead, as we show, the effect is primarily the result of don...
31 CitationsSource
#1R GroseChristian (SC: University of Southern California)H-Index: 12
A nascent but growing research area examines political institutions through the use of field experiments. I consider why field experimentation has been used infrequently in the study of political institutions and note that some research questions are not amenable to field experimentation. I review areas of research inquiry where field experimentation has enhanced scholarly knowledge about political institutions and representation. These areas include the study of race, representation, and bias i...
37 CitationsSource
#1Benjamin I. Page (NU: Northwestern University)H-Index: 33
#2Larry M. Bartels (Vandy: Vanderbilt University)H-Index: 32
Last. Jason Seawright (NU: Northwestern University)H-Index: 16
view all 3 authors...
It is important to know what wealthy Americans seek from politics and how (if at all) their policy preferences differ from those of other citizens.There can be little doubt that the wealthy exert more political influence than the less affluent do. If they tend to get their way in some areas of public policy, and if they have policy preferences that differ significantly from those of most Americans, the results could be troubling for democratic policy making. Recent evidence indicates that “afflu...
172 CitationsSource
#1Lynda W. Powell (UR: University of Rochester)H-Index: 16
Although many think campaign donations buy influence from legislators, scholars have difficulty determining whether and how much influence contributions have in the legislative process. Many studies seek to identify the influence of donors on roll call votes. After considerable debate most scholars have concluded that donors have little influence on these votes. What voting studies cannot detect are the important, but less observable, opportunities to shape legislation that occur earlier in the ...
7 CitationsSource
#1Kathleen Bawn (UCLA: University of California, Los Angeles)H-Index: 13
#2Martin Cohen (JMU: James Madison University)H-Index: 27
Last. John Zaller (UCLA: University of California, Los Angeles)H-Index: 23
view all 6 authors...
We propose a theory of political parties in which interest groups and activists are the key actors, and coalitions of groups develop common agendas and screen candidates for party nominations based on loyalty to their agendas. This theoretical stance contrasts with currently dominant theories, which view parties as controlled by election-minded politicians. The difference is normatively important because parties dominated by interest groups and activists are less responsive to voter preferences,...
200 CitationsSource
Cited By48
Newest
Source
Source
The idea of liquid democracy responds to a widely-felt desire to make democracy more "fluid" and continuously participatory. Its central premise is to enable users to employ networked technologies to control and delegate voting power, to approximate the ideal of direct democracy in a scalable fashion that accounts for time and attention limits. There are many potential definitions, meanings, and ways to implement liquid democracy, however, and many distinct purposes to which it might be deployed...
#1Till Weber (CUNY: City University of New York)H-Index: 9
A growing literature documents that public policy in modern democracies fails to represent the preferences of traditionally marginalized subconstituencies. By dissecting party agendas, I show that ...
Source
#1Olivier J. Wouters (LSE: London School of Economics and Political Science)H-Index: 8
Importance Government efforts to lower drug costs and other legislative and regulatory initiatives may be counteracted by campaign donors and lobbyists in the pharmaceutical and health product industry. Objective To review how much money the pharmaceutical and health product industry spent on campaign contributions and lobbying in the US from 1999 to 2018 at the federal and state levels. Design and Setting Analysis of federal-level and state-level data obtained from the Center for Responsive Pol...
2 CitationsSource
Source
#1Michael D. Minta (UMN: University of Minnesota)H-Index: 5
This paper examines the role that racial and ethnic diversity plays in improving the legislative success of minority interest groups. Relying on campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures to ...
Source
#1Matthew H. Goldberg (Yale University)H-Index: 3
#2Jennifer R. Marlon (Yale University)H-Index: 23
Last. Anthony Leiserowitz (Yale University)H-Index: 41
view all 5 authors...
Do campaign contributions from oil and gas companies influence legislators to vote against the environment, or do these companies invest in legislators that have a proven antienvironmental voting record? Using 28 y of campaign contribution data, we find that evidence consistently supports the investment hypothesis: The more a given member of Congress votes against environmental policies, the more contributions they receive from oil and gas companies supporting their reelection.
Source
Source
Source