A Preliminary Analysis of Campaign Contributions in Florida's Legislative and Judicial Elections

By Shaughnessy, Timothy M. | Journal of Private Enterprise, Spring 2005 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

A Preliminary Analysis of Campaign Contributions in Florida's Legislative and Judicial Elections


Shaughnessy, Timothy M., Journal of Private Enterprise


There is a large body of research that has been conducted on the economics of political campaigns. The relevant questions often asked include how important are campaign contributions to determining election outcomes; how significant is incumbency in eliciting contributions or determining outcomes; how influential contributors are in determining the actions and votes of an elected candidate; and what factors determine whether, how much, and to which candidate a contributor donates money. Most of this research is conducted in the field of political science, though public choice theorists have researched similar topics with the tools of economics.

Most of the research on campaign contributions concerns the elections of legislators; however, candidates also run for judicial office, and seek campaign contributions in the process. This paper takes a first step in examining campaign contributions to both types of candidates. The Division of Elections at the Florida Department of State maintains an online database of both contributions to and expenditures of political campaigns for all federal and state elections from 1996 onwards. The contributions data lists detailed information on each instance a monetary or in-kind contribution was made to a candidate's campaign. Aside from legislative races, the database also includes information from judicial races, and thus is a good source of data with which to test hypotheses concerning the determinants of contributions to legislative versus judicial campaigns. Further, the database includes information on all candidates, i.e. both winning and losing candidates, and we can thus analyze possible characteristics of contributors to winning versus losing campaigns and also avoid any selection bias by examining only victorious candidates.

The paper is organized as follows: section two presents a brief literature review of articles on campaign contributions and public choice aspects of the judiciary from both the economics and law literature. section three outlines a theoretical model describing how contributions to political candidates are determined. Section four describes the data used in the estimated models, summarized in section five. Concluding remarks are presented in section six.

Literature review

Several articles by Eric Helland and Alexander Tabarrok have addressed issues relating to the public choice aspects of the judiciary. In "The Effect of Electoral Institutions on Tort Awards,"1 they examine how in-state and out-of-state defendants fare in states where judges are elected on partisan or nonpartisan ballots. Voters will prefer, if possible, that taxes be shifted out of state; thus, out-of-state defendants are predicted to be charged larger penalties than in-state defendants. Further, they argue that judges who regularly grant larger awards will be elected over those who grant lower awards, and judges elected on partisan ballots are expected to grant larger awards than judges who are appointed or elected on nonpartisan ballots. Their results show that tax shifting does occur: out-of-state defendants pay an average of $376,400 and $ 176,583 more than in-state defendants in partisan and nonpartisan states, respectively. This support of the notion that elected judges may be responding to political incentives provides one of the motivations of this paper attempting to uncover who may be trying to influence judicial decision-making through campaign contributions.2

Posnet (1993) seeks to describe judicial behavior in economic, utility-maximizing terms. Though they presumably exist in an environment specifically constructed to be free from economic influence, judges have utility functions and face constraints in much the same way as other economic actors. Posner likens judges to managers of nonprofit firms, to voters, and to viewers of plays, all groups who superficially appear to operate without economic motives but whose behavior can be described in a utility-maximizing sense.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Preliminary Analysis of Campaign Contributions in Florida's Legislative and Judicial Elections
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.