By the same authors

Party Activists, Campaign Funding and the Quality of Government

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Publication details

JournalJournal of Law, Economics and Organization
DateE-pub ahead of print - 31 Jan 2012
DatePublished (current) - Feb 2013
Issue number1
Number of pages29
Pages (from-to)210-238
Early online date31/01/12
Original languageEnglish


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. If activists and donors are better than the ordinary voter at distinguishing between good governments and lucky governments, then the more potent political capital is the less the extent of rent-seeking. This situation also rules out finite limits on election spending, though a zero limit could be the optimum if donors and activists are close enough substitutes in the work they do for the party. The one policy which is never optimal is a finite limit on local spending.

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