Department of Economics
George Mason University
Information about this author at RePEc
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|January 2000||Does Political Ambiguity Pay? Corporate Campaign Contributions and the Rewards to Legislator Reputation|
with Randall S. Kroszner: w7475
Do politicians tend to follow a strategy of ambiguity in their policy positions or a strategy of reputational development to reduce uncertainty about where they stand? Ambiguity could allow a legislator to avoid alienating constituents and to play rival interests off against each other to maximize campaign contributions. Alternatively, reputational clarity could help to reduce uncertainty about a candidate and lead to high campaign contributions from favored interests. We outline a theory that considers conditions under which a politician would and would not prefer reputational development and policy-stance clarity in the context of repeat dealing with special interests. Our proxy for reputational development is the percent of repeat givers to a legislator. Using data on corporate po...