Money, Campaign Finance and Elections – A Case Study of the US Federal Elections

Here is the abstract of my co-authored paper on “Money, Campaign Finance and Elections – A Case Study of the US Federal Elections” with Ms. Khadija H. Nasirova.

The influence of corporations and interest groups on US elections is a much-debated issue. The issue became more pronounced after the 2010 Citizens United V. Federal Election Commission court decision. In this study, we analyze changing patterns of US election contributions and federal election outcomes. For our study, we take data from FEC database for federal elections held between years 2002 and 2014. We use Difference-in-Difference and instrumental variables (IV) to measure the net effect of 2010 court decisions on election contributions and their subsequent influence on election outcomes.

Keywords: US federal elections, campaign funding, Citizens United V. FEC

Read full paper on SSRN here.

GDP Per capita – Cuba Vs SAARC countries (1990 – 2014)

Graph Courtesy: Our World In Data

In 1990 Cuba’s GDP per capital value was higher by almost four times than that of SAARC’s most prosperous nation then – Sri Lanka. With an exception of Maldives & Afghanistan (for which data were missing), the performance of remaining five South Asian countries was even worse.

Twenty-four years later, Cuba’s GDP per capita exceeded $19,000 despite US Government’s extended economic sanctions. Among South Asian economies, Maldives had the highest GDP per capita value of $11953.59 and Afghanistan had the lowest value of $1844.02 in 2014 respectively.

During the same period, Nepal went through a decade long devastating Maoist insurgency (1996 – 2006). Moreover, the country also witnessed the fall of the Monarchy and two elections to the Constituent Assembly. During the same period, politically, Nepal remained one of the most unstable countries in the world. Between 1990 and 2016, the country saw twenty-five Prime Ministers, each occupying his office for average of about ten months only. All these factors explain why Nepal was the worst performer in terms of GDP per capita in 1990 and now remains the second worst performer among the SAARC member countries.

US Election 2016

As a development economics professional, I see neither of the Presidential candidates for this year’s US election are best fits for the Oval Office; Clinton for misusing US authorities for personal gains and Trump for tax evasion attempts and his past extra marital affairs. However, like some of the US economists who endorsed Clinton for the next US President, I also believe that Clinton would be the safer option for Americans to vote for.

Last year, a friend of mine and I wrote a paper on how 2010 Citizens United decision had affected US Federal election afterwards. Leaving behind other factors constant, we found the policy changes in post-Citizens United era favored the Republican candidates. Our study found that money hugely affecting  American general elections and the Republicans were benefiting a lot from policy changes in 2010.

As the Americans vote for their next President today, I have come across an another factor that also plays crucial roles in deciding election outcomes. In spite of receiving huge donations by the Republicans, the voters tend to support a candidate who has had good public image in the past. A evidence to this statement is observation in all major recent elections forecasts – Clinton is leading all of them with large margins.