July 16, 2010

"After the GAO Report: What Do We Know About Public Election Funding?"

Michael Miller has posted this draft on his research website. Here is the abstract:

    In June of 2010, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a comprehensive evaluation of the effects of full public funding in Arizona and Maine. The report seeks to evaluate the policy effects of public funding in the states with regard to several stated goals of its supporters, including slower campaign spending growth, diminished interest group influence, enhanced political participation, and heightened electoral competitiveness. The GAO's paper is timely considering that full funding programs are becoming both more common and more visible to the public at large; however, its analysis of public funding is not comprehensive. Moreover, its findings in some areas are not sufficiently robust. These shortcomings are generally resultant of unnecessary limitations that GAO researchers place on their data as well as improper methodological choices.

    That said, the GAO's analysis does contain several interesting findings, and its publication marks a good opportunity for political scientists and policy analysts to compare notes. Combining the contributions from each provides a more complete picture of what is known and unknown in the study of publicly funded elections. In this paper, I review the findings of the GAO report as well as those of a growing number of scholars who have examined the topic. I describe what the GAO, political scientists, and policy analysts have told us about public election funding, as well as opportunities that remain for further research. Where applicable, I supplement this
    review with basic analysis of additional data. This essay should therefore be useful both for political scientists and the policy community.

I'm looking forward to reading this.

Posted by Rick Hasen at July 16, 2010 12:30 PM