By the same authors

Party Activists, Campaign Funding and the Quality of Government

Research output: Working paper



Publication details

DatePublished - 1 Dec 2010
PublisherCentre for Market and Public Organisation
Place of PublicationBristol, UK
Number of pages45
Original languageEnglish
ISBN (Electronic)1473-625X
ISBN (Print)1473-625X

Publication series

NameThe Centre for Market and Public Organization Working Paper series
PublisherCentre for Market and Public Organisation, Bristol Institute of Public Affairs, University of Bristol
ISSN (Print)1473-625X
ISSN (Electronic)1473-625X


We study the formation of government policy in democracies when turnout depends on party activists and campaign spending - parties’ ‘political capital’. The functional importance of political capital determines equilibrium rent-seeking in government. Often the more potent political capital is the greater the extent of rent-seeking. Limiting the level of political capital is distinct from reducing its potency, and whereas we find a strong case for reducing potency we find that placing limits on campaign spending are rarely optimal, and in particular that weak limits are never optimal. A limit on total campaign spending can increase government quality under certain conditions and if so then strong limits are always better than weak limits. However, finite limits on either national or local campaign spending alone, as often seen in practice, are never optimal.

    Research areas

  • Party activists, campaign funding, rent-seeking, political finance

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