Article

The Impact of Campaign Contributions on Congressional Behavior

Christopher Witko

in Political Science

ISBN: 9780199756223
Published online February 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0118
The Impact of Campaign Contributions on Congressional Behavior

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How campaign contributions influence the behavior of members of Congress is an important question with theoretical and normative implications for our understanding of congressional decision making, interest-group influence, and participation in the less frequently studied nonvoting forms of political behavior and how economic inequalities may translate into inequalities in the system of representation. To answer this question, social scientists (mostly in political science, economics, and sociology) have first tried to understand what interest groups are attempting to accomplish with their donations by studying which types of individuals and interests are most likely to contribute and the pattern of their donations. They have also directly examined the relationship between contributions and various types of behavior. Though most campaign contributions actually come from individual citizens, there is relatively little research into the motivations of individual donors or the effect that individual donations may have on behavior. This likely reflects that, rightly or wrongly, critics are less troubled by individual contributions than those from wealthy “special interests.” Thus this article focuses mostly on the intentions underlying and the effect of contributions from organized interests, which are studied more often.

Article.  7260 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Institutions ; Political Methodology ; Political Theory

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