Journal Article

Campaign Advertising and Election Outcomes: Quasi-natural Experiment Evidence from Gubernatorial Elections in Brazil

Bernardo S. Da Silveira and João M. P. De Mello

in The Review of Economic Studies

Published on behalf of Review of Economic Studies Ltd

Volume 78, issue 2, pages 590-612
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0034-6527
Published online February 2011 | e-ISSN: 1467-937X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/restud/rdq012
Campaign Advertising and Election Outcomes: Quasi-natural Experiment Evidence from Gubernatorial Elections in Brazil

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  • Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables
  • Analysis of Collective Decision-making

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Whether campaign advertising influences election outcomes is an open question; a paradox given the amount spent on campaigning in general and TV advertising in particular. We argue that such “absence of documentation” is due to the focus of the empirical literature on the U.S., where the allocation of campaign spending and advertising is decentralized. We explore a quasi-natural experiment that enables us to mitigate the omitted variables and reverse causality problems caused by decentralized allocation. In Brazil, gubernatorial elections work in a two-round system. In the first round, candidates' TV time shares are determined by their coalitions' share of seats in the National Parliament. In the second round, TV time is split equally between the first-round winner and runner-up. Using differences between rounds as a source of variation, we find a large causal effect of TV advertising on election outcomes.

Keywords: TV Advertising; Campaign Spending; Election Outcomes; Endogeneity; Quasi-Natural Experiments; D72; C33

Journal Article.  9407 words. 

Subjects: Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables ; Analysis of Collective Decision-making

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