State campaign finance regulations and electoral competition Academic Article uri icon


  • In the following analysis, we provide an assessment of the effect of campaign finance reform on campaign spending and electoral competition in gubernatorial campaigns. The work improves on prior research by considering a longer, more comprehensive time frame (1978-1997) and by examining the effects of several different components of reform (contribution limits, public financing, and spending limits) within a single analytic framework. We find that spending limits reduce candidate spending and have an indirect and negative effect on electoral competition. The negative effects of spending limits, however, are heavily contingent on the level at which the limit is set. Contribution limits are associated with increased disparities in candidate spending and increased incumbent spending but have no direct effects on electoral competition. Overall, whether campaign finance reform enhances or inhibits electoral competition depends very much on the combination of spending limits, contribution limits, and public financing enacted in a given state.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Gross, D. A., Goidel, R. K., & Shields, T. G.

citation count

  • 31

complete list of authors

  • Gross, DA||Goidel, RK||Shields, TG

publication date

  • March 2002