Scholars generally believe that as inter-party competition intensifies, candidates and parties will need to spend more money to win votes. Cox and Thies (1998) extended this claim and argued that in electoral systems that require intra-as well as inter-party competition we also ought to observe a positive relationship between the intensity of intra-party competition and the level of individual campaign spending. They demonstrated such an effect for pre-1993 Japan. However, the relationship between political competition and campaign spending may be a function of the size of the constituency. In larger districts, candidates face far more competitors - from within their party and from other parties - and thus receive poorer information about the quality of the competition. As a result they may lack a basis for deciding whether to spend more or less. In this paper I extend and re-test the Cox and Thies hypotheses using electoral and campaign spending data from Brazil, which has much larger district magnitudes than Japan. In contrast to Cox and Thies, I find no relationship between the quantity of either intra-or inter-party competition and spending, and no relationship between the quality of inter-party competition and spending in large constituencies. However, I do find that candidates continue to respond to the quality of infra-party competition. These results qualify Cox and Thies's findings: in larger-magnitude candidate-centric electoral systems, candidates respond less to the pressures of inter-party competition, but continue to react to the pressures of intra-party competition.
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- Campaign finance
- Personal vote