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After citizens united: how outside spending shapes American democracy

Abdul-Razzak, Nour, Prato, Carlo and Wolton, Stephane ORCID: 0000-0003-1405-650X (2020) After citizens united: how outside spending shapes American democracy. Electoral Studies, 67. ISSN 0261-3794

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.electstud.2020.102190


We study the political consequences of lifting restrictions on the funding of groups engaging in outside spending (e.g., independent political advertising) in elections. Theoretically, we assume that outside spending changes the salience of candidate-specific attributes relative to their party labels. Empirically, we employ a difference-in-differences design that exploits the removal of state-level restrictions on the funding of outside spending mandated by the federal-level rulings in both Citizens United and v. FEC. We find strong evidence that these regulatory changes increase the electoral success of Republican candidates, thereby leading to more ideologically conservative legislatures. We find no effect on polarization. Consistent with our theory, the size of our estimated effects depends on the power of labor unions and the alignment of business interests with the Republican party.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 Elsevier Ltd
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
K Law > KF United States Federal Law
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2020 11:06
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 03:06

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