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Does Public Election Funding Create More Extreme Legislators? Evidence from Arizona and Maine

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 January 2021

Seth E. Masket
Affiliation:
University of Denver, Denver, CO, USA
Michael G. Miller*
Affiliation:
Barnard College, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
*Corresponding
Michael G. Miller, Barnard College, Columbia University, 3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027-6598, USA. Email: mgmiller@barnard.edu

Abstract

We investigate whether Maine and Arizona's Clean Elections laws, which provide public funding for state legislative candidates, are responsible for producing a new cadre of legislators who are unusually ideologically extreme. We find that there is essentially no important difference in the legislative voting behavior of “clean” funded legislators and traditionally funded ones in either Arizona or Maine: those who are financed by private donors are no more or less ideologically extreme than those who are supported by the state. This finding calls into question some concerns about the effects on polarization of money generally and public funding in particular.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s) 2014

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