Title

Out-of-District Donors and Representation in the US House

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-3-2021

Publication Title

Legislative Studies Quarterly

First page number:

1

Last page number:

35

Abstract

US House members have become increasingly reliant on out-of-district individuals for fundraising. Yet we have little evidence on how such donations might affect representatives' policy decisions. Given the high partisanship known to dominate House roll calls, do the preferences of individual donors influence policymaking at all? And are members who rely on out-of-district contributions more responsive to the preferences of the national donor base? This article examines these and related questions, producing three main findings. First, even accounting for well-established partisanship in House voting, representatives are responsive to the policy preferences of the national donor base. Second, this donor responsiveness is positively associated with electoral safety, including when redistricting exogenously induces the safety. Third, the higher a member's reliance on out-of-district donations, the greater is their responsiveness to the preferences of the national donor base. Together, these findings suggest that current fundraising dynamics skew representation in significant ways.

Keywords

Campaign finance; Individual donors; Out-of-district donations; Representation; US house

Disciplines

American Politics

Language

English

UNLV article access

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