Does Money Buy Elections? The Impact of Spending on U.S. Congressional Campaigns

January 1, 2008   •  By IFS staff   •    •  ,

This study examines challenger, incumbent and open-seat spending in congressional races.  It addresses the need for sufficient campaign funds early on, incumbent advantages, and the diminishing returns of campaign spending after reaching a certain threshold.  The paper concludes that while the need for money is important to all candidates, it is especially so for challengers and notes that reforms aimed at limiting candidate spending or restricting access to funds are like to have an adverse effect on challengers, and may even harden the incumbency advantage to the detriment of competition.

IFS staff

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