Recent research has taught us much about the effects of campaign finance laws, but we know little about why states adopt the regulations that they do. I address this question by examining why states increased the stringency of their campaign finance laws from 1993 to 2002. As is the case with other policies regulating the conduct of elected officials, the popular perception exists that politicians resist stringent campaign finance out of a concern for their own electoral self-interest. As a result, I test whether campaign finance policymaking results from the selfish electoral incentives that politicians allegedly have on this issue or decisions on this issue are influenced by factors that influence other types of policies. I find evidence to support both views. Specifically, the initiative option, a liberal government, strong good government groups, legislative professionalism, and scandal increase the likelihood of a state increasing the stringency of their regulations, while states with expensive legislative elections are less willing to do so.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Political Science and International Relations